Is it 1978 all over again for the Red Sox?


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.

Video: Braden Halladay pays homage to Roy Halladay in spring game

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While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.

Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”