The unfavorable matchup against Blue Jays southpaw Ricky Romero -- Gonzalez is 1-for-6 against him, while Crawford is 2-for-17 -- was just a minor reason Francona rested two of his regulars.
The Red Sox won't land in Tampa until the wee hours of Friday morning in advance of their weekend series against the Rays. Some other factors went into the decision as well.
"We're going to have a late arrival," said Francona. "When you give 'em a day off, you'd like to pick a day where, maybe give it against a guy maybe they don't see the ball or something. We went to Gonzi last night, and he was like, 'Yeah, I'm OK with that.' When he says that, it will be good for him."
In regard to Crawford, Francona mentioned giving him a break in the middle of a road trip that is being played entirely on turf.
"Just try to balance getting rest and production and try to do it where it fits," Francona said. "I feel like we have a decent batting order today."
Per usual, Jacoby Ellsbury led off. Francona's lineup also had Marco Scutaro batting second and playing short, followed by Dustin Pedroia in the third spot and David Ortiz at cleanup.
Kevin Youkilis moved across the diamond and started at first base for the fifth time this season. Jed Lowrie was back in the lineup for the first time since tweaking his left shoulder on Saturday, playing third base. Jason Varitek got the nod behind the plate. Josh Reddick was in right field, followed by left fielder Darnell McDonald.