At this stage of the season, as playoff hopes fade like murky watercolor paintings left out in the rain (a lyric proudly lifted from the Barry Manilow hit, “Too Strong a Relish”), I pin my hopes on the little things. Like praying that Jon Lester can nab his 17th win. And that Ortiz might slam his 30th home run of the season. And that, most importantly, we don’t get taken down by a dude named “Fister.”

There’s pride at stake here, boys. Play accordingly.