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Is it 1978 all over again for the Red Sox?

Sep 12, 2011, 8:50 AM EDT

David Ortiz Getty Images Getty Images

No, what’s happening now is nowhere near as catastrophic as the Red Sox’ 1978 collapse. And since there are still 16 baseball games to be played, it may not even be a collapse at all. But that can’t make anyone in Red Sox Nation feel all that good this morning. The impulse to panic seems pretty strong.

But let’s put this in some context.  Of those sixteen games the have remaining, seven of them come against the Orioles. Sure, bad teams have played spoiler before, but seven against the Orioles is the closest thing to collapse-proofing a team can get. Meanwhile, the Rays have 17 games left. Seven of them — seven! — come against the Yankees. Who, yes, have their own problems, but who aren’t exactly easy pickins, even in their current state.

Boston’s pitching has everyone ready to freak out. But the scheduling gods are smiling on them. They have two against Toronto this week before their four-game series against the Rays.  All they need to do is tread water in those six games and they’ll be in an OK position.

But if they fail to tread water? Or, worse, if the Orioles end up being the Red Sox’ Waterloo?  Then yes, Red Sox Nation, you have my permission to start doing fun photo mashups of Don Zimmer and Terry Francona and trying to figure out which Tampa Bay Ray gets the same colorful middle nickname that Bucky effin’ Dent was given back in the day.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Arrrrg, I forgot to add Boston Massacre to the list of collapses of in the ATH thread…

  2. sdelmonte - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Hey, I’m a Mets fan. So I know that if a team really wants to find ways to blow it, it can.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      September 2007, a brief post-game conversation after the Nats beat the Mets again:

      Mets fan: Whaddya cheering about? Your team sucks!
      Yours truly: You haven’t heard of the concept of a spoiler?

      The Nats played an important part in the Mets’ collapse. At the time, affecting a pennant race was all we had. Nothing in particular against the Mets; after all, beating the Mets helped the Phillies.

  3. proudlycanadian - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    It is deja vue all over again.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM

      Boston’s pitching has everyone ready to freak out. But the scheduling gods are smiling on them. They have two against Toronto this week before their four-game series against the Rays.
      If I were a Jay, I’d highly resent the implication inherent in that statement.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:53 AM

        The Red Sox will be using 2 weak starting pitchers in their pair of games against the Jays this week.The Jays won 3 out of 4 against Boston the last time the 2 teams played.

      • hittfamily - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:03 AM

        Go Jays. Get the 6 fingered man out in centerfield tipping pitches. Do whatever you need to do. The Jays throw their 2 best, the Sox throw their 2 worst. The Rays get 3 against Baltimore. 1 game lead for the Sox when the Rays come to Boston for a 4 game series. They will be bringing their brooms to that series as well!!!

  4. yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    I LOVE Bucky Dent stories!

  5. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    ANYBODY CAN BE BEAT – Bart Scott

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      Tony effin’ Romo

  6. Kevin S. - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    I dunno, Ben effing Zobrist just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Nah, the first name needs 2 syllables: Bucky, Aaron, B J, Evan etc.

      • skipperxc - Sep 12, 2011 at 6:38 PM

        Well, for Bucky and Aaron, it’s a two-syllable first name and a one-syllable last name.

        Therefore, I give you our 2011 entry: David Price.

  7. pisano - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    If the rule of good pitching stops good hitting the Red Sox are in trouble. What they have going for them is they still have a lead and the Rays have to play the Yankees seven more times. This ought to be real interesting coming down to the end.

  8. Panda Claus - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Thanks for taking another swipe at the O’s Craig. And yes, I’d love nothing better than to have my dreadful team to play a part in the miserable demise of the Red Sox. I mean that in a nice way, no malice at all.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      All the O’s have to do is get a big enough lead against the Boston starters so that Gregg can’t blow the game. It is doable.

      • Panda Claus - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:07 AM

        I suppose it’s doable, but it won’t be easy. He almost blew an 8-1 lead to Detroit last month.

        Kevin “Gas Can” Gregg. [sarcasm]Thanks for not re-signing him Toronto.[/sarcasm]

    • hittfamily - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      Are the Rays allowed to loan some pitching to Baltimore?

  9. indaburg - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    How about just the “Tampa effing Rays”? As a Rays fan, I consider the “effing” nickname a huge compliment.

  10. Ace - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Horror of horrors for Red Sox fans: we’re going to have to suck it up and root for the Yankees. (For 7 games, at least.)

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Arod, Swisher and Martin are hurting.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Good thing they Yanks have Chavez, Jones and Montero.

      • dailyrev - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Damn those J’s look good. That kid Lawrie looks like a future MVP candidate, I’m serious. Starting pitching seems promising too. They need to shore up their pen over the winter and see if they can pick off another quality starter cheap and they could actually contend, even in that division they’re in.

        I was so inspired by watching the J’s this past week I added Ontario to my search agents. Betcha plenty of Americans are doing the same.

    • dapperdan50 - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      Never will I root for the Yankees. Even if logic were to dictate (and I don’t think it will).

      Are you sure that you are REALLY a Sox fan, Ace? Sorry, I have to check your credentials.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 10:22 AM

        Cigarette? Blindfold? As you wish.

  11. uyf1950 - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Craig, actually I’m not sure that Royals and the Twins wouldn’t have been better options for the Red Sox then the O’s. Just my opinion.

  12. marshmallowsnake - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    I have figured you out…you like to stir the pot. I have seen it with Phillies fans and now with Sox fans. Why does the media like to jump on things and then beat them to death?

  13. giselleisasucubus - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    they are in some serious trouble. I think they are going to blow this. Tampa has great pitching. The Red Sox are a mess, and again, Theo will somehow get off the hook. Why give Bobby Jenks 7 mill when you can go after Soriano? Why give Carl Crawford 20mil p/year and not even take a sniff of matt Holliday the year before, who is a much better fit. John Lackey=Carl Pavano. I havent even got to Tito, the worst game manager in baseball(“but his players love him”). Very disappointed Red Sox fan here that doesnt see things through red,blue and pink colored glasses.

  14. offseasonblues - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    C’mon people, don’t you recognize a set up when you see it? The Sox let the Rays get close so they can catch the Yankees in those 7 games they have left against them. Sox and Rays go to the post season, Yankees play golf.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      Yankees do in Sox and Rays, Angels take Wild Card. Wait…I don’t want that.

  15. bobwsc - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    “They have two against Toronto this week before their four-game series against the Rays. All they need to do is tread water in those six games and they’ll be in an OK position.”

    tread water? against the two teams that just punch-a-sized their face?

  16. seanb72 - Sep 12, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    nothing would fill my heart with joy more than watching Boston fall apart…, wait, watching every bandwagon fan, sportswriters, and the pro-Boston MLB establishment soak the floors with their tears!!!

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