All things considered, I’d rather just pay the regular price, thanks.

On paper, this one was a no brainer.

Josh Beckett. Commander Kick Ass himself. The man who almost singlehandedly bitch-slapped the Indians back to the Mesozoic Era during the 2007 ALCS. The man who responded to Cleveland’s attempt to throw him off his game by recruiting his ex to sing the national anthem during said ALCS with a sigh and a “Yeah, I hit that,” followed by a relentless barrage of awesome. This guy against 0-3 Zach Jackson? As the French would say, “Are you f@#king kidding me, Jerry Lewis?” Why even bother to play the game? Just hire a couple ringers from the Big Apple Circus to entertain the masses until Papelbon’s ready to come out in his jock with a beer box on his head and get this party started.

Instead, what transpired was a frustrating reminder of the little Achilles’ heels that plague this team. Like, sometimes our ace doesn’t seem very ace-y. And sometimes our hitters don’t come through when we need them to most.

With the Rays beating the Orioles, we could have kept pace, storming forward to drag this race to the final days just to see who blinks first. Instead, we faltered. Got tied up in knots when we needed the big hit. Felt the ill-effects of that nasty black hole in the line-up created by the officially hapless Kotsay and Lowrie (a combined 0-for-9). Landed some bad breaks, like that ball-off-the-ump madness. And gave the Rays some quality TV entertainment:

After Boston lost 4-3, reducing Tampa Bay’s magic number to four, a roar resonated throughout the clubhouse.

“It was a nice, happy ending,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s exciting.”

Time for some brutal honesty: Our division hopes are dissolving quickly. We’ve got to preface everything we say with “if” and “maybe” and “assuming the entire Tampa Bay Rays team gets swallowed up by the earth’s crust.” We’ve got six games left to play and two and a half games to make up and the spectre of a tiebreaker going to the Rays hanging over our heads. I know that after 2004 anything can happen. But now’s as good a time as any to start looking into hotels near Angel Stadium for some hot ALDS action.

Tonight, in honor of what should be our playoff-clincher, we’ll be liveblogging once again. Do show up if for no other reason than to discover what fresh hell Comcast and/or Blogger have in store for us.

Lastly, because we traffic in pomposity and megalomania, we encourage you to join the SG fan page on Facebook. C’mon, white boy, give it a try. We don’t bite. Or at least, I don’t. Denton’s still got that infamous “Midnight at the Cask” fiasco to live down.