For almost the past month, since reporting for testing and intake, the Red Sox had a bubble of their own of sorts -- Fenway Park.
First came workouts, then intrasquad games, then the start of the regular season.
Ah yes, the regular season. Of course, there's nothing regular about any of this, and for the Red Sox, who, after a thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Night, there hadn't been anything enjoyable about it, either. The Sox executed a face plant for the next four games, being both easily outscored (29-11) and obviously outclassed.
Some change would do them good. Fenway was becoming stale, and the ugly sameness of the losses -- fall behind early, produce token offense, allow more runs late -- was wearing them out. Some players openly pined to get away from home.
"I think it was actually nice leaving Fenway,'' said manager Ron Roenicke. "We had been there for so long. So it was probably a nice thing for them to feel a little different atmosphere.''
Their first assignment wasn't an inviting one. Not only was it a return date with the New York Mets, who had just embarrassed them the previous two nights, but as luck would have it, they got to face Jacob deGrom, who is in the running for best pitcher in the game.
But there were the Red Sox Wednesday night at Citi Field, scrapping away and, with help from Nathan Eovaldi, their lone dependable starter, staying with the Mets pitch-for-pitch.
The Sox fell behind again, but this time just be a manageable run. They soon pulled even, and in the fourth, they actually went ahead. Even in the empty Citi Field, you half expected the sound of trumpets to mark the occasion. For the first time in 40 innings, dating back to last Friday, the Red Sox had a lead.
It didn't last. In fact, after giving it up, they fell behind again. But they kept coming. A solo homer from Christian Vazquez tied it again, and in the eighth, they went ahead once more, this time for good though Brandon Workman nearly undid everything in the ninth with a self-imploding high wire act.
Ultimately, they held on, and never before have you seen a team so happy, so relieved, to win in the sixth game of the season.