“I just listened to Tito on WEEI,” Tom said just now, “and honestly? I feel better about things.”

It was a long, painful, cold evening at the park last night. There’s no other way to put it, really. Tampa Bay showed up ready to kill, capture and destroy the enemy. We were left watching balls flying every which way, and none of them were hit by the team we view as the good guys. While Lester had had that great first inning on the mound on Monday night, Wake had that great first out before everything went to hell.

I wanted to hug the man as he stood on the mound. The urge only became more intense when he literally threw himself on the ground to try to record an out and just couldn’t get it done.

It was a quiet trip home and a quiet morning after. Things felt different this time around. I wasn’t about to give up on the prospects of a longer series, but I was starting to prepare myself for the reality that I might witness the final Red Sox game of the season tomorrow night.

And then Tom heard Tito on the radio. Believe it or not, hearing him talk about how he felt better made me feel better.

“So what was it that he said?” I asked.

“I don’t know…he just has this way of saying things in a way that gives me hope, you know?” Tom replied. “He was talking about the fact that they’re fired up. They don’t want the day off, they just want to go in there and play ten minutes from now. The clubhouse is fired up and ready to go. They’re going to win tomorrow night.

“He pointed out that Lester really didn’t have a bad showing,” he continued, noting something that I’d also considered. “It was three pitches, really. Otherwise, he was pretty much on the ball. And as for Wake, they happened to connect well. That’s going to happen. Live by the flutter, die by the flutter.

“I just feel much better about it now. It doesn’t sound like a clubhouse that’s ready to pack it in for the winter. And hearing him actually say that they’d love to play today to show them what the Red Sox can do makes me feel good. If they were dreading the game, I’d be worried about what’s going to happen.

“They’re going to win tomorrow,” he said. “We’re going to see them win and send them off to Tampa for more baseball.”

That right there is something I can get behind. The Red Sox are going to win tomorrow.

Finally, as those who have been watching the games will note, the Sox have continued the practice of having past Red Sox heroes come back to the park to throw out the first pitch. We’ve had Jim Rice, Troy O’Leary, Dwight Evans (DEWEY!) and Trot Nixon so far.

I know it’s only going to be Game 5 and would come six days before the 33rd anniversary of the ’75 World Series Game 6, but I think Carlton Fisk should throw out the first pitch tomorrow night. I’d happily settle into my seat to wait out 12 innings if that’s what it would take to get this series extended. It’s do or die time, and Fisk is my favorite example of someone cowboying up/keeping the faith/getting the damn job done. Bring him back and get the magic going.

***UPDATE: “Pedroia came in this morning ready to fight the war, and it’s spreading clubhouse-wide. Like I said, I wish we were playing an hour from now.” – Francona on WEEI. And that is why Pedroia became my favorite Red Sox player this season.