The 2010 season is crashing down around me in flames. The Elf is back on the DL, Youk’s been gone so long I almost forget what he looks like, and Ellsbury is essentially a mythical beast, living only through stories told ’round campfires.

Our two studs, Beckett and Lester, were reduced to knockaround guys in each of their last starts, and I’m not exactly salivating over the prospects of Lackey 2013. Papelbon gives me the sweats every time he hits the mound and Daisuke is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, folded neatly into a heart-attack sandwich.

This season should be over. I should be clearing up my October calendar and focusing on a post-season free of stress — a race in which I have no horse. But I can’t give up the ghost until the math tells me to. Blame it on the 2004 ALCS.

So I’ll be parking my ass in front of the TV again tonight, beer in one hand, chips in the other, praying to the Gods that this will be the game that turns things around. That Daisuke will pitch his ass off, and that Oakland and Seattle can keep the Rays and Yanks down.

The long, slow climb to the top might well start with tonight’s game. That’s how you gotta think around here.