As much as the blowouts — those games where it’s garbage time by the third inning and you just have to bend over and take it while the other team knocks in run after run — hurt, there’s nothing quite as painful as the ones that slip like sand through your fingers. The ones you’ve already placed gently in your back pocket and mentally adjusted the standings to reflect. Those games? They suck.

That’s what makes last night’s loss to the Angels so painful. Dude, they HAD this game. Actually, against a solid team like the Angels, you can’t take anything for granted, but, man, they so HAD this one.

The toughest spots on the pain-o-meter were the inability to score after loading the bases in the third with one out, Manny getting picked off second to snuff a potential rally in the seventh, and Arroyo being left in the game perhaps one batter too long. For me, the kicker was Millar’s weak foul-out to end the game, after Daubach knocked a two-run, last minute homer. A lesser man would have kicked the dog and reached for the gin. But I’ve been here before, Mack.

And before you ask yourself, “Did the Yanks win?” you must be reminded that they played Baltimore last night. That’s a question that answers itself.

In other news, at, Gammons has an interesting piece on would-be suitors for Carlos Beltran:

The Royals want a young third baseman, catcher, second baseman, outfielder and pitching, so Baird hopes to get three of the five if he deals Beltran. “We know he’d give us one more potential free agent,” says one Boston official. “But it would be very hard to turn away from Beltran for this season.” With Kevin Youkilis, catcher Kelly Shoppach and left-hander Abe Alvarez, the Red Sox might have a package that would at least pique Baird’s attention. But to give up three players who next year will make $900,000, not to mention give them insurance if Jason Varitek leaves and the promise of a much-needed left-handed starter, might be too much. The Yankees have Double-A catcher Dioner Navarro, but little else in terms of 2005-ready position players. So this may be open.

Finally, from Red Sox Notebook in today’s Globe: “Francona raised some eyebrows when he accidentally referred to Mendoza as ‘Rivera.'”

I can see how he’d get them confused.