Man, if Monday night’s game was The Empire Strikes Back, then last night’s was The Phantom Menace. Bunches of us sitting around with our Sox caps and Damon Berryhill Wine Coolers, waiting for something equally awesome to explode before our eyes, but left with another first-inning Jason Johnson funfest, some squandered opportunities, and C.C. Sabathia’s giant ass. And when the biggest cheer of the night goes to a bird… well, that tells you everything you need to know about a game, doesn’t it? Yes, it does.

We knew things were bad early on, though, for two reasons: One, Jason Johnson was on the hill, and Two, the other Jason, our man V-Tek, will be lost for a month. Folks, Jason Varitek was always high on my list of “Sox Players I Don’t Want Getting Injured,” right after David Ortiz, David Ortiz, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz. Because once the Cap’n goes down, the Doug Mirabelli Era commences. And it is upon us now. And after the game — in which Doug went 0-for-3 including grounding into a double play to snuff what I’d hoped would be a fourth-inning uprising — I can only hope his teammates forced him to wear Sabathia’s game pants over his head.

Nothing against Von Douglas, of course, because without him, you can bet Wakey would pack up and, I dunno, go off to become a dairy farmer or something. But whereas the Cap’n’s bat was questionable, Doug’s is no mystery whatsoever: friggin’ thing is non-existant, leaving a gaping hole in an offense that has been running hot and cold of late. (Also, in his defense, Jason Johnson acquitted himself somewhat over the next couple innings. Or at least he didn’t give up any grand slams or piss himself on live TV.)

It’s not a season-crusher, but a serious buzzkill of a loss. And today, as temperatures around Boston head past 100, I’ll be bringing the TV outdoors, filling the wading pool with ice and Pabst, and letting that cool Remy vibe work its magic. As always, beer-drinking girls in Red Sox caps are welcome.