How was he holding up after a long season?
"Why, do I look that bad?" Francona said.
In truth, the manager -- just as he has during the championship times -- was able to keep things in their proper perspective.
"Things happen during every season, unless you win the World Series, [and] around here, that's kind of what you shoot for," Francona said. "It's not possible that it happens every year."
To Francona, the toughest part of the season was not the barrage of injuries, but instead the first month of the season. At that time, veterans were coming to grips with new roles and newcomers were still getting acclimated. The Red Sox floundered, getting off to a 4-9 start and finishing the month 11-12.
"I'd say the first month was tough," Francona said. "I felt like I was chasing my tail a little bit. That's probably the best way to put it. I was a little frustrated with what was going on and I don't know that I handled it like I wanted to. Then after that, things started going pretty well.
"Then we got beat up and that took a toll. But from a team standpoint, I thought we were starting to get that, though, regardless of who was playing, we seemed to be going in one direction and trying to do the right thing. We weren't always good enough. So I was OK, I think. We had a lot of challenges and we didn't meet all of them, but that doesn't mean you have to be miserable."