It’s almost hard to believe that there was a time in my life when I expected the Red Sox to find bold new ways to screw things up. To be the perennial bridesmaids, always getting thisclose to a ring before falling ass-backwards into the punch bowl.

But these days? No matter how you roll ‘em, they come up winners.

Commander Kick-Ass sidelined with a bum neck (which I can only pray is a nagging injury from the days when Leeann Tweeden used his face as her personal bacalounger)? No prob, we’ll throw in Dave Pauley. Manny doesn’t go deep? Well, howzabout two from Ellsbury? In fact, how ’bout seven hits from Ellsbury and Elf? Seven hits? Dudes, you know what happens when the first two guys in your line-up go 7-for-10? You win ballgames, that’s what happens.

Six in a row now. Best record in the American League. And we’ve still got our Extra Secret Weapon, Mike Lowell, on ice, waiting for that glorious return.

The winning? Yes, we like it. But let me get one thing straight: I loved the Red Sox when they were losing, when they were tearing out my heart and sticking it in the fry-o-later. I’d let them drive a Mack truck all over my nuts and keep coming back for more, almost eager for the inevitable kick to the onions.

Loving them when they’re winning, however, is much, much cooler.