I spent a lot of my high school years and some of my early professional life working in the theater. One of the many adages in the theatrical world is: “Bad dress rehearsal–good show.” Granted, sometimes this didn’t hold true. Sometimes a bad dress rehearsal just meant you had a crappy production and you’d have to deal with crappy reviews and small audiences. But sometimes it was true. The dress rehearsal would stink and somehow, on opening night, everything would come together–the actors would find their timing, the technical changes would transition flawlessly, and all would be well. Dress rehearsals are the time to correct mistakes in timing and execution so that you don’t do them during The Show.

Spring Training is the dress rehearsal for the regular season, so I’m not too concerned that the two guys who are supposed to be the Tribe’s aces–Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez–got lit up in their first Spring Training starts. On Monday, Masterson said: “”This is the exact same spot I’m in every spring training, so it’s perfect.” There is some truth to his statement. Masterson ended 2011 Spring Training with a 5.40 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 21.2 innings pitched. (He also had 23 strikeouts and 6 walks.) He had a lousy Spring Training and a great regular season.

In 2010, Masterson had a 5.14 ERA with a 1.62 WHIP over 21 innings pitched, but in this case, the lousy dress rehearsal did not add up to a stellar season. He ended the 2010 regular season with a 6-13 record, 4.7 ERA/ 1.5 WHIP over 180 innings pitched. However, that was also Masterson’s first full season with the Indians. He’s grown since then. I forget sometimes that he’s only 26 because it feels like he’s been around for a while. I’m more than willing to give Masterson the benefit of the doubt on this one. He pitched better in 2011 than his record shows because he frequently didn’t have run support. Dear Justin, Please have another crappy Spring Training and a great season.

Ubaldo Jimenez is still a question mark for me. Out of curiosity, I put his basic Spring Training stats next to his regular season stats (2011 numbers are combined totals for games played with the Rockies and the Indians). There doesn’t seem to be any strong correlation between how he does in Spring Training vs. the regular season except to say that in his magic year of 2010, he had a great Spring Training. You can infer what you wish from these numbers.  I won’t worry too much yet. He has plenty of time to work out the kinks.

YEAR ERA WHIP Innings pitched
2007-SP 2.45 1.18 11.0
2007-RS 4.28 1.305 82
2008-SP 7.78 1.98 19.2
2008-RS 3.99 1.43 198.2
2009-SP 7.32 1.63 19.2
2009-RS 3.47 1.22 218
2010-SP 2.89 1.29 18.2
2010-RS 2.88 1.15 221.2
2011-SP 3.26 1.14 19.1
2011-RS 4.68 1.40 188.1


  • Swift says:

    I’ve had that thought for a long time, back to my youth in the 60s as a Mets fan. Back then, the Mets would often be very good in spring training, but would revert to the Mutts as soon as the season started. The Indians have seemed very similar for the last 20 years or so.

    It might be interesting to compare Indians Win-Loss in pre-season and regular-season over that period of time. I suspect little correlation.

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Swift: I was thinking of pulling some numbers like that, either for teams or individual players. My guess would also be that there is little correlation among teams but perhaps some among players.

  • SeattleStu says:

    ever notice how ‘working out the kinks’ rhymes with stinks?Jiminez is damaged goods, and another classic Tribe mistake….luckily it’s early in the season though, and Seattle Stu still has his positive attitude hat on….it will only get more bitter from here folks.

  • Danny says:

    Unless someone is super atrocious in spring I don’t think it matters too much. I expect a lot of the time guys are trying to do certain things in situations that they wouldn’t normally do in the regular season. It doesn’t mean anything, so why not tinker with something mechanically or strategically to see how it plays out. I think that is case for Jimenez, especially since he added some weight strengthening his lower body in the winter. Let him re-tune himself and judge him solely on his regular season performance.

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