"Eric Patterson in center? Sounds good to me."

Eric Patterson. Dude.

If there’s one thing that must be fixed in your brain it is that when a no-no is on the line — and especially when a perfect game is on the line — you catch everything that’s hit to you. Just ask Mike Lansing, who was put on this earth specifically to make a wondrous stab of a sinking bloop fly to preserve Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter for the Sox back in 2001. When you’re closing in on history, you don’t want to be the guy who ordered JFK the convertible or lit a cigar on the Hindenberg.

Yet, the very fact that you were even in the game, the fact that you were our starting centerfielder, kinda tells us everything we really needed to know about last night’s game. And perhaps about the 2010 Red Sox. Because even as Jon Lester worked his magic, mowing down Mariner after Mariner and taking a perfect game into the sixth, I kept wondering when the other shoe would drop, and praying that our offense could conjure at least a couple more runs above the one they got on an Ortiz home run. So when Patterson lost an easy fly ball to ruin the perfect game and the next better cranked one out of the park, I quietly nodded. Then I put my balls in the waffle iron.

It was an ugly loss and really a Cliffs Notes version of how our 2010 season has gone. Replacement parts strewn about the field. An injury-riddled, punchless offense (the Sox are 87-for-385 over the last 11 games). And a seeming inability for timely hitting and lights-out pitching to appear simultaneously.

Mostly, I just feel bad for Jon Lester, who was on his way to adding another mystifying chapter to his young and stellar storybook career before that dropped fly ball set him off his game. And even though he manned up and took the blame, I can only hope that Patterson was forced to wear Youk’s game-used jock like an oxygen mask for the balance of the evening. Hell, I hope everyone but Lester had to endure it.

Today, Daisuke is the difference between a split with one of baseball’s worst teams or a 3-1 series win. Where’s your money, honey?