You’re lying. If the minute you heard the words “Javy Lopez coming in to pitch,” you didn’t know this thing was over, you’re a filthy liar. We’d had our chances. Squandered bases loaded opportunities. Given a damn good team too many leases on life. And toyed with the fates just a bit too much to be let off the hook yet again. Someone’s bullpen had to blink. It turned out to be ours.

Sure, if it wasn’t for a ghastly Angels miscue in the third, then this thing would have ended after nine as a 4-1 Sox loss. But the fact is we were able to hang. We kept it rolling. We just couldn’t deliver the death blow. Got no punch from guys like the Elf (0-for-5 and hitless thus far in the series), The Large Father (0-for-3, although he walked 3 times) and Jason Bay (0-for-5). And now it’s win tonight or hop a flight back west.

Fair enough. Perhaps Denton set the stage for our demise in game three by calling for the sweep. Who knows? But the thing that bugs me the most as I look back on the game was that Ellsbury strikeout in the bottom of the eleventh. With Crisp on first and one out, Jacoby reacted with amazement to a delayed call on a low strike (my own reaction was to toss the couch out the window). The ump, considering this an affront to his ump-ness, rung Jacoby up on the very next pitch–a pitch so far east of the zone that even the announcers figured he was being punished for his reaction to the previous pitch. So what might have blossomed into an ALDS-clinching rally turned to crud. And that douchebag ump immediately made my shitlist, prompting me to fire off a quick e-mail to Bud Selig with outlines for an army of robot umps who can call games with machine-like precision, letting none of these messy emotions and delusions of grandeur get in the way. AND GOD DAMN THE MAN WHO TELLS ME, “RED, YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR MIND. THESE ROBOT UMPS WILL RISE UP AND REVOLT AGAINST THEIR HUMAN MASTERS, POSSIBLY EMBRACING JIM BELUSHI AS THEIR LEADER.” Because you know damn well Tim Tschida has been plotting the end of civilized life on this Earth ever since the “phantom tag” in the 1999 ALCS, and that f@#ker’s still calling games.

Am I going too far? Making excuses when, in fact, we were simply outplayed? Perhaps. But I’m tired and hungover and I’ve been standing up shouting at the TV for the past five hours, and I think I’ve earned that right. On the plus side, it was a damn exciting game, filled with the kind of tension usually reserved for first dates and parole hearings. And we’ll be getting another heaping helping tonight.

So god bless us, every one. And remember that crazy-ass ramblings such as these are now available in convenient Facebook form.