"I know our guys well enough where you don't have to talk to them every day," Francona said on Sunday. "I just felt like I want to help. I care about them a lot, and I really like this team a lot, and I just felt like maybe half reassuring and kind of explaining. [It was about], 'Remember who we are and how we go about things.'
"You get tested a little bit -- that's part of it -- and we've been tested before. [The message was] just to continue to fight through things together. It's easy for me to believe in this group."
While he would not want his team looking back too often on last season, Francona said there are lessons to be drawn from last year's 92-win run to the playoffs. Cleveland began the season with a 5-10 record, endured a number of prolonged losing streaks, but weathered those storms and enjoyed an impressive push through September.
"You can't always be, 'Last year, last year,'" Francona said. "But whatever you learned from it and take from it is good. From my own point of view, because I know these guys a lot better, it's easier for me to believe in them, because I know what they're about. That helps.
"Nobody likes coming to the ballpark and having to look at your record when it's not what you want it to be. That's just plain and simple. Saying that, I don't want them dragging in here. It's a new day. We need to make it be a better day. And then also, not look too far in the future.
"Just take care of today. If you do that enough, man, it always seems to work out."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.