Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract in the offseason, went 0 for 5 in Friday's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays, dropping his average to .137.
"He really wanted to play, which is good," Francona said. "But I think it'll do him a lot better to get a day off. I think everybody knows this guy will be really good. He's a really consensus kid. He's trying too hard."
Jed Lowrie, hitting .471 in limited playing time, was inserted into the leadoff spot and is playing shortstop. Crawford has batted leadoff six times this season, ironically the only two Boston wins have come with him in the top spot. But he went hitless in 10 at-bats in those games.
After Crawford's last at-bat Friday, a three-pitch strikeout against closer Jon Rauch, he walked back to the dugout to loud boos.
"I guess I'm trying to do too much," Crawford said Saturday morning.
He's been shifted to four different spots in the batting order — also hitting second, third, and seventh — before the day off.
Francona is also playing Mike Cameron in center, batting him sixth, and Darnell McDonald will be playing left and batting eighth. Those two moves are because Toronto is starting left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes.
The Red Sox were a major league worst 2-10 entering Saturday's game.