Hooray... for winning.

I like to think of myself as a guy who “gets it.” That time my ex-wife went out for groceries and was never heard from by me again until that letter from her lawyer three months later? I figgered I did something to piss her off. And that time my boss informed me of a spectacular new position for which I’d get to stay home every day, not do any work and no longer receive a paycheck? Took a while but I realized, while shuffling about in the cardboard box I ended up living in, that I probably messed up.

See, some things just take a while to sink in. For example, the fate of the 2010 Red Sox. I see the parade of triple A talent getting plugged into various holes. I see Youk and Ellsbury and Pedroia already focused on 2011. I see Beckett struggling to maintain consistency and Papelbon pushing us all to the emergency defibrillators. I should, being a semi-educated man, see the writing on the wall, and understand that the playoffs just aren’t happening this year.

But then I watch games like last night’s. I see Lester reach deep and pull out a damn spectacular performance when we needed it most. I see V-Mart come up huge at the plate, single-handedly providing all the offense we needed. I see the gap between us and the Rays and Yanks shrink to four and a half games. Suddenly, I’m handing rational thinking a sandwich and a beer and telling it to go play in traffic.

A win tonight with Clay on the hill? That’ll bring us within just three and a half games. A sweep? An unthinkable sweep? I don’t even want to imagine a world in which we’re just two and half games out of the running. Because then I’ll start printing up the playoff T-shirts and canceling my October plans and dreaming of Bill Hall hoisting the AL Championship Trophy.

And I really don’t want to go there just yet.

Or do I?