First off, I’m not ready to hit the panic button. Because that is for those who feel the need to panic, to scurry about, screaming that the sky is falling and Pedro is toast and Lowe is a nutjob and Foulke has been unremarkably human of late. I won’t deny that these fears do creep into my room and swat me about the head at times, but I won’t succumb to them. We are Red Sox Nation, and we are strong.

I will concede, however, that in the midst of this three game skid, capped by this morning’s lambasting at the hands of the Angels (and, more specifically, Vlad Guerrero), I’m growing increasingly concerned about a number of things.

First, if the pitching situation hasn’t already reached critical mass, it’s getting pretty fucking close. Pedro had absolutely nothing last night, Lowe is this close to talking to squirrels and getting “secret messages” in his waffles and Arroyo is scuffling. This does not bode well for the rest of the season. At least not now.

Second, Kevin Millar. Yes, he was the “heart and soul” of last year’s team and helped make Cowboy Up! the second most annoying catch phrase in history. But this year, he’s bringing absolutely nothing to the party. During last night’s game, after the Sox knocked Washburn out of the game with six straight hits, Karaoke Guy came up with two men on and a chance to put this one away. Instead, he grounds into a double play, and weakly at that. The bottom line, when you need a hit, this is one of the last guys you want to see at the plate. Whenever things are going great, he has an uncanny way of sitting bare-assed on the birthday cake, sending everyone home sad.

Third, the bullpen’s gone from lights out to lights possibly left on to the point that we’re getting angry letters from the Electric Company who claim they know what we’re up to and they’re sending “a guy” out to talk to us and we’d better just straighten up real quick like. We’re clearly missing Scott Williamson. Missing him like the flowers miss the rain. Like Ebert misses Siskel. Like Mo Vaughn misses the Legs n’ Eggs buffet at the Foxy Lady. Also, the Mike Timlin we saw in the 2003 playoffs, as far as I can tell, has been replaced with an alien Mike Timlin, very likely on the Steinbrenner payroll, whose mission is to ensure no less than five runners per inning on his watch.

All is not lost. Not yet, anyway. Because, barring any new setbacks or interference from Al Queda, we’re getting Nomar back very soon. Will he make a difference? Having his bat in the mix — and sending Crespo back down 95, which I assume will happen — certainly can’t hurt.

Oh, and the Yankees played the Orioles last night. So you know what that means. I don’t have to tell ya. Hell, I’m not even gonna link to any scores, because you know how it goes when the Yanks play the Os. You know. You just… know.

And now we have an off day, just to simmer in all these bad vibes for a little bit longer.