Braves Fall Again, Remind Us Spring Training Not About Wins and Losses
Six games is a substantial sample size, enough to draw some conclusions and get an idea about a team’s strengths and weaknesses. The regular season is 162 games, and six will make very little difference given the remaining 156. But those six are plenty to be able to tell a team might need a more prototypical leadoff hitter, or that their pitching staff is too inexperienced, or that their outfield lacks the speed to sufficiently cover the necessary ground from foul line to foul line, for example (none problems with the Braves).
And then you remember — this is Spring Training. It doesn’t matter. It counts for nothing. Wins and losses, performances in general, they fade to dust once the season starts. I’m not likening Spring Training to Allen Iverson’s point of view on practice, but the fact that the Braves are 0-6 and haven’t looked so good doing it shouldn’t have anyone concerned.
The lineup has been anything but typical, pitchers are still working their way up to full arm strength, and every player should have a singular goal in mind during each game. For Julio Teheran, it’s working on his slider. For Dan Uggla it might be staying back on the ball and going the other way. For BJ Upton it’s a more exaggerated crouch in his batting stance, hopefully enabling him to hit the ball on the ground with more regularity and keep his back shoulder tall, giving his bat a more direct path to the ball.
The point is, in Spring Training each player has one or two very small but pivotal important things that he is working on. Actual results don’t matter, and in fact because each player is focusing so acutely on a particular goal or problem, the results won’t be there; they can’t be — not while trying to make corrections and adjustments, effectively practicing, in game situations.
And so Braves fans, fear not. This apparently poor run of form is in no way an indication of the current state of the team. It merely means they are working on things, both collectively and as individuals. They can go without a win for the entirety of Spring Training for all I care, so long as they are ready for the Milwaukee Brewers on March 31. And I fully expect they will be.