Turns out that, unfortunately, I was wise to bury my enthusiasm after Saturday’s win. Yesterday, the Sox took another two steps back, getting pummeled by the Braves, 10-4. The culprit this time was “The Bad Inning,” as in the inning where Derek Lowe inexplicably goes batshit after giving up a walk or a hit or anything that mucks up his precious rhythm.

Before The Bad Inning (the fifth inning in the case of yesterday’s game, where Atlanta plated 9 runs), Lowe was cruising along rather nicely. But his unravelling was quick and ugly, prompting even Terry “Everyday Sunshine” Francona to declare: “It can’t happen. He’s got a pitching coach that has confidence in him. He has a manager that has confidence in him. I think he has [teammates] who have confidence in him. But at some point he has to do it.”

And to Jimmy Anderson, we give a hearty “Hello. Goodbye.”

The shame of it all, beyond the irreparable damage I’d done to my liver swallowing mug upon mug of Jaegermeister as I watched this abomination unfold, is that the Yankees spent the weekend picking up their teeth in Shea Stadium. Had the Sox played a bit sharper, they might be heading home 5 1/2 games behind New York, rather than 8 1/2.

So back home they crawl, tail tucked neatly between their legs, and hoping for some sort of redemption. It’s not gonna be easy, what with Oakland and Texas in town, but they’ve gotta come to play. The Sox NEED to take 4 of 6 on this homestand to turn the ship around. If the Sox find themselves more than 10 games behind the Yanks and more than five back in the wild card (they’re currently 2 1/2 behind the Rangers), we could be in for a long summer.

On a more positive note, this is shaping up to be the first All-Star Game I watch in three years. Curt Schilling vs. Roger Clemens with Mike Piazza catching the Rocket? Roll tape, Babies.