Your annual reminder that spring training doesn't matter

But it looks so real! - Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are playing poorly and it doesn't matter one little bit.

The Red Sox are not playing the best baseball right now. In fact, they're playing quite poorly. Saturday they managed to lose both ends of their day - night doubleheader, including a night game which featured almost the full lineup against an Orioles B-team. That night game actually ended a ridiculous 13-2 blowout with the Sox committing six errors. That's a brave new world of incompetence right there.

So is it time to be concerned? No, because spring training doesn't matter.

It's a lesson we've learned time and again, but also one that bears repeating and reinforcing. So let's look back at some recent years:

  • The 2010 Texas Rangers finished dead last in the Cactus League before winning 90 games in the regular season. The Reds finished 11th, four places above Texas, ultimately winning 91.
  • The 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks finished dead last in the Cactus League and ended up taking the NL West with a record of 94-68. The Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, and Cardinals were all 90-win teams that finished with sub-.500 records.
  • The Rangers once again stumble through spring training without letting it effect their regular season in 2012. The Braves, Rays, Orioles, and Reds all finish sub-.500 and win 90. The Red Sox go 16-11 and then suffer the worst season they've had in decades.
  • Last year, the Dodgers and Reds were the worst National League teams in spring training. Each made it to the playoffs with 90+ wins.

Every year, without fail, great teams play poorly during spring training. Good players perform like Double-A washouts, too. Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew, and Dustin Pedroia each produced an OPS under .700 last spring, and each performed admirably from April onward.

The Red Sox are playing poorly. It's making some of us uncomfortable. It's certainly annoying those of us who put our time into watching/listening to them play poorly since, everything else equal, we'd prefer to listen to meaningless wins than meaningless losses.

None of it's going to mean a damn thing come April, though. So...who cares? You shouldn't.

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