I’ve come to the conclusion that Alex Cora is distantly related to Theo Epstein. Or that he’s holding evidence of Rico Petrocelli’s long-rumored participation in the ’70s underground Italian porn flick Guy in Chef’s Hat F@#ks Policeman. Or that he has Super 8 films of a young Larry Lucchino in full Nazi regalia, breakdancing to Nolan Thomas’ “Yo Little Brother.”

How else to explain his continued presence in the line-up and “first guy off the bench and into our hearts” status. In the seventh inning, with two men on and two outs, why not roll with some Royce Clayton action? The guy’s been pulled from the AL East cellar into the thick of a pennant race — don’t you think he’s a little hungry to perform? Sure, he could suck. But Cora’s been giving us New and Improved Super-Enhanced Suck for some time now, and I’d like to try a different brand.

Anyway, I has this one earmarked as a comeback win after Coco made that stellar snare in the top of the ninth, then helped double up Delmon Young. “The pendulum’s swung our way now, f@#kers,” I howled to no one in particular, before watching the lads go down 1-2-3 to end it. At which point I quietly packed up the snacks and beer, put my pants back on, and went to bed.

We’ve got two more games against the Rays. I just want to see us in a position where even if New York sweeps us this weekend, we’ll still have the lead in the East. Not that we’d ever get swept by the Yanks at home. I mean, that could be the weekend Cora turns it on.