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Why winning spring games normally doesn't matter

March 29, 2010 |  7:09 am
Tonight, the Dodgers have an opportunity to even their spring-training record.

Does it matter?

Does how a team performs in the spring translate to what transpires once the season starts? Particularly with the Dodgers?

History says … nope.

The past two years, the Dodgers finished the spring with losing records and went on to win their division and advance to the National League Championship Series.

Which is not to say great preseasons cannot be springboards to great regular seasons. Particularly for a team trying to establish itself.

In 1987, the Dodgers finished 73-89 and in fourth place. The next spring, that team needed to establish a winning attitude -- something Kirk Gibson became famous for in the first spring game.

The 1988 team went 21-11 in the spring and stunned baseball with a World Series title.

For established teams, spring training is more about getting in shape and fine-tuning. Experimenting. Don’t think the Yankees have their pinstripes in a knot because they’re 10-13 this spring.

The chart below shows the Dodgers’ record the past 14 springs since the ’95 strike, and then their corresponding regular-season record and finish.


Year   Preseason record    Regular-season record
2009           15-22                 95-67 (first +3 games)
2008           11-18-4              84-78 (first +2)
2007           17-16-1              82-80 (fourth -8)
2006           15-13-5              88-74 (first +11½)
2005           14-14-3              71-91 (fourth -11)
2004           12-22                 93-69 (first +2)
2003           15-15-1              85-77 (second -15½)
2002           12-17-4              92-70 (third -6)
2001           18-13-2              86-76 (third -6)
2000           12-18                 86-76 (second -11)
1999           21-9-1                77-85 (third -23)
1998           18-10-1              83-79 (third -15)
1997           13-11-1              88-74 (second -2)
1996           17-9-0                90-72 (second -1)

-- Steve Dilbeck
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