There were two games on the schedule, but the Red Sox were really playing three — the day game, the night game, and the waiting game.
Once David Ortiz grounded to the mound to end the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Rays in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader, there were 2½ hours to kill.
Between games, the Sox clubhouse was as quiet as it was empty. A couple of afternoon games flashed on the flat screens overhead. A handful of players came in and out.
The only players in full uniform were Clay Buchholz and John Lackey, two pitchers with nothing on their plate Thursday.
Nearly everyone else had thrown off their uniforms and slipped into T-shirts and their Jonny Gomes-issued American flag shorts.
The few players in the room were in their own worlds.
Shane Victorino was glued to his iPhone. A.J. Pierzynski was scrolling down his tablet. Jonathan Herrera came in with a container full of food, sat down by his locker, and plugged in his earbuds.
Buchholz grabbed a seat at his locker, opened up a binder, and did some quick studying on the Rays.
Halfway done with an abnormally long day, the plan was pretty simple.
“Get some rest and get ready for the next game,” Jackie Bradley Jr. said. “Just relax, get some food, get some energy.”
The players that weren’t grabbing food were grabbing some shuteye.
The day at the park started at 9:30 a.m. and wasn’t likely to end until well into the night.
“Some guys’ll go up and take a nap,” Pierzynski said. “Something like that.”
The catcher made a cameo in the day game, coming up with a pinch-hit single in the sixth inning and catching the final three frames. He started behind the plate in Game 2.
He took the time between games to relax and prepare.
“If I’d have [started] the first game, I would’ve worked out in between and then got ready for the second game,” Pierzysnki said.
On a normal day, the Sox would be in the middle of batting practice a couple of hours before first pitch. In a way, they treated it the same.
“Just prepare like we just got out of BP basically,” Pierzynski said. “So, we just basically got done with BP and now you get ready for the game.”
There were between-game chores to take care of in a short amount of time.
“Just get ready, wait for your clothes to be washed, get ready to go again at about 6 o’clock,” Pierzynski said.
And as first pitch crept closer, players checked out film and got some last-minute scouting done.
By the end of the night, they would have crammed two games into one day, but in a 162-game season, it comes with the territory.
“Doubleheaders, it just makes for long days,” Bradley said. “But you’ve got to get the games in.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.