After the balls-to-the-wall drama of Saturday night’s game, yesterday gave us nothing but balls-to-the-griddle exasperation, and the ominous feeling the our return to the valley of clutch hitting and late-inning comebacks may have been short lived. Against Mighty Joe Saunders, our offense could conjure nothing. When we finally broke through against Scott Shields in the eighth, I broke out the Good Luck Commemorative Pedro Martinez Totem, thinking we may yet pull out another one. But then Tito hit Drew for Kielty and in one brief at-bat, it all just washed away.

Myself, I would have stuck with Kielty; he’s a switch-hitter and already had two hits. But beyond that, with the electricity of playing his first game as a Red Sox — not to mention the standing O he got from a magnificent first-inning catch — he probably could have been held aloft on a cloud of his own adrenaline, which may have benefitted him in such a critical situation. It just seemed to make more sense than pinch-hitting a guy who’s not only struggling but whose head’s probably flying in a million different directions. But, hey, that’s why Tito makes the big bucks.

Hell, I was already a big fan of Kielty’s after that bizarre bit with him and Eric Hinske during Saturday’s game, where Hinske was going off on another one of his Happiness is Everywhere tangents — smile wide, arms flailing — and Kielty just kinda sat there, soaking it in but keeping his focus on the outfield. Look at that goddam screencap and tell me that you weren’t begging to see it accompanied by a voice-over stating, “Coming this fall to NESN… they’re roommates… with a difference!”

And how ’bout that mohawk on Hinske, which in my mind conjured memories of the scene in Scorsese’s After Hours, in which Griffin Dunne is thrown into the fray of a nightclub as the bouncer yells, “mohawk this guy!” A home-made jobber to be sure — I believe Remy noted that Hinske didn’t have it when he saw him just a few hours prior to the game — which somehow makes it even cooler. Can you just picture him thinking, as he sat down for the pre-game spread, “Guys, I totally need a mohawk”? Because I can.

If we take any positives beyond the mohawk, I’d point to Jools’ performance, recovering nicely from a tough first to set the Angels down in order 4 times through 6 innings, and Eric Gagne allowing the obligatory coupla baserunners, but then striking out the side in the ninth.

Simply put, it’s a split of a four-game set against one of the AL’s best that, with a few timely hits and a little less suckage from Gagne, could have been a Sox sweep. But I’ll take it.