Last month, I made a prediction that 2009 would be the Year of the Lugo. And I stuck by that forecast when it was announced he’d be back in the line-up last night. Despite the fact that I kinda agreed with Denton’s assessment that we’d been riding a win streak with Green, and you don’t mess with the hot hand.

But Theo didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, and there was clearly something he saw in the cut of Loog’s jib that inspired him to dump buckets of cash at his feet. This, I figgered, would be the season that I’d start seeing the same thing. So, yes, I’m man enough to say I welcomed the return of Julio Lugo. And, as if in response to my show of faith, he went and smacked a single in his first at bat! “Nick Green who?” I asked no one in particular as I opened another beer and took off my pants, as is the ritual around my place at game time.

Then in the third Loog botched a play that led to an Indian run. And I feared that in his first game back, Lugo would be deemed a pariah and cast off to live with mutants and carnival folk under some Charlestown pier.

Thank God, then, for Javier Lopez, who, in dropping a toss to first and allowing the winning run to score, earned the unenviable title of Guy Most Likely to Be Forced to Wear Youk’s Jock as a Respirator During the Flight Back Home. He also pushed me to my first set of bloody knuckles, as I let the wall have it when he pulled that little league crap and couldn’t handle a soft, underhand throw. Don’t you know how much blood and sweat I’d invested in those painful nine innings? All for you to drop the ball like a high-school kid fumbling with his best friend’s mom’s boobs? When the folks at the Red Sox front offices come in tomorrow morning and get that voice mail message insisting that Lopez be put in a sack and shipped first-class to Pawtucket, let them know it was from me.

That said, there were plenty of shit-hats to go around after this game. Brad Penny gave up seven runs in just 2.2 innings (although only four were earned). Mike Lowell served up his own error to allow a run. And I took my eyes off the game for at least a good half-hour to try to procure some free meat sandwiches from the German girl (long story). So I take some of the blame as well.

Look, we’re not gonna win every game. I understand this. But that game last night? That’s not how you end an eleven game win streak. You gotta let them pull it out of your hands like some deranged zombie trying to tear your heart from your chest. You gotta go out, guns blazing. I’m talking Youk’s teeth sunk deep in Jhonny Peralta’s calf. Teets dropping trou and scrawling “Cleveland Sucks” across his ass with a Sharpie as the cops drag him out of the park. Or Jon Papelbon delivering the Ricky Roma “What are you gonna do about it, asshole?” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross on the P.A. system. If our streak’s gonna die, I want the last thing I see to be the whole place going to blazes, like that hotel room at the end of True Romance. Not Javier Lopez holding his pud and looking like he wants to evaporate into the evening air.

When it’s all on the line, you make that play. You catch that ball. You don’t let it drop carelessly from your fingers. You just don’t do that.

Anyway, back at ‘em tomorrow. Because we keep moving forward.