The Red Sox and their fans have always held a bond perhaps unlike any other in all of sports. With the players floundering through an 0-6 start and the fans expressing frustration, that relationship could be tested when the club returns to Fenway Park to begin its home schedule on Friday against the New York Yankees.
To those in the clubhouse, however, the two groups need each other now more than ever.
"Luckily we have our fans and we have great fans on our side that will bring us out of this," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said after Thursday's 1-0 loss in Cleveland. "We thrive on them and I know they thrive on us, so it's time for us to go out there and play for them and play for each other in here."
As odd as it sounds for a team loaded with veteran star power, the sense that the fans are needed seemed to permeate throughout the clubhouse on Thursday afternoon.
"You're either two feet in or you're two feet out," Dustin Pedroia told reporters in Cleveland. "Let us know now because we're coming."
David Ortiz, ever an individual who can put things as bluntly as they need to be, said he expects those who show to give the same support he has always known.
"There's not two Red Sox teams," Ortiz said. "There's only one. You have to cheer for this one if you're a Red Sox fan, right?"
Although it is somewhat of a rhetorical question, the answer as to what sort of support the team gets amid its worst start in 66 years will come Friday afternoon.
One thing is for certain — the players could use some love.