After Clay got worked over in his first trip back to the hill, I tried to temper my expectations for Commander Kick Ass’ return. But the dude delivered, striking out five and giving up just one run and five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Well played indeed, but for a while it looked like the offense might let him down. Especially in the fifth when the Sox put the go ahead run at third with nobody out, and neither Hall nor Cash nor Scutaro could bring it home. The very next inning we had the bases loaded with two outs, when Ortiz, the runner on third, picked the worst possible moment to be overcome by jetlag and was neatly picked off. And I could almost hear Josh Beckett cocking a rifle in the visitor’s clubhouse.

Thankfully, Bill came through — glorious, fantabulous Bill — knocking one out in the seventh, and the bullpen avoided a replay of Thursday night’s shitshow, enabling the Sox to get the win in Beckett’s first game back off the DL. Hell, we even picked up a game on the Rays, which is nice.

Tonight, we get Jon Lester against 0-2 David Pauley. Is it too outrageous to predict a win? We’re now at 3-2 on this roadtrip, and still hold out hope that we can get back to Fenway at 7-3.

Crazy? Maybe. But I like the way I think after whiskey and Shredded Wheat for breakfast.