The Red Sox already knew they would be getting a day off Thursday and figured to take full advantage in an effort to escape their season-long doldrums. Rain washed away Wednesday's series finale with Tampa Bay, giving them even more of a chance to hit the "restart" button and try once again to get this thing going.
"I don't think that'll hurt. I don't think that'll hurt one bit," manager Terry Francona said of the two days with no games. "Justifiably, we're all answering questions. You have to. To be able to step away, hopefully that'll help."
Boston fell to 2-9, the worst record in baseball, with a 3-2 loss to the Rays on Tuesday. It matches the worst 11-game record in team history.
Many players, and the staff, too, felt that the Tuesday night setback was difficult in that the club played well, but still fell short. Jon Lester threw a solid seven innings, the defense played well behind him and the offense had several good hacks against Tampa Bay ace David Price.
Still, this is not a team that wants to be taking positives out of close losses on a regular basis. At some point, the positive vibe needs to come after wins. Having 48 hours to figure out how to get those wins, or at least to not suffer another loss, could be a springboard for something better.
At least that's the hope after a start that has at least one of the team leaders expressing some frustration.
"I know it's depressing. I know it's early in the season but it's the Red Sox," said designated hitter David Ortiz. "I'm not used to it. I've been here nine years and I'm not used to it. It's frustrating. I've never used that word, but I have to now."
Ortiz, for his part, pinned it all on the players. He said that the front office did its job this offseason by bringing in a slew of talented players. He said the coaching staff has given the team all it needs to do its job. However, that job simply has not been done with regularity, whether it be due to inconsistent pitching, poor hitting or a combination of both.
"They can't go out there and hit and pitch. It's on us. They put [the team together]. After that it's on us. We have to take over … Our coaches, our front office, they did what they're supposed to do. They put the team together. Now, it's on us."
When Francona heard of Ortiz's comments, he appreciated his slugger taking ownership of the team's struggles. But the manager was quick to say it is a team-wide mission.
"As a staff, I don't think we want to point fingers [at the players]. It's our job to understand how to play better. I don't think we're trying to come up with stuff. Everything we do we're trying to do for common sense reasons. If you start coming up with stuff, it's probably not going to be made out of common sense, and then you start doing stuff you don't believe in."
With that mindset, the Red Sox will use the time off like they would if they were 9-2, 11-0 or 0-11. Pitchers will get their work in, depending on what their schedule dictates, and players will lift, take batting practice and continue to get treatment for whatever ails them. Essentially, nothing changes.
However, there is also a very rare in-season opportunity to take a good chunk of time away from the actual games and assess a few things mentally.
"We created a nine-game fiasco early in the season," Francona said. "Now, we need to figure out a way to make it better."