Rauch displays tattoos on his neck during practice at the team's MLB American League spring training facility in Dunedin

Jon Rauch done for season, may need surgery for knee injury


Jon Rauch made his way back from an emergency appendectomy, but now the Blue Jays reliever has been shut down for the season with a knee injury.

Rauch was placed on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his right knee and is expected to eventually undergo surgery.

Rauch had an up-and-down season in Toronto, working as both a setup man and closer while throwing 52 innings with a 4.85 ERA that’s the worst of his career. He posted a decent 36/14 K/BB ratio, but Rauch served up 11 homers in just 225 plate appearances after giving up just three homers in 245 plate appearances for the Twins last year.

Toronto has a $3.75 million option or $250,000 buyout on Rauch for next season, but the free agent reliever market projects to be deep enough that declining figures to be their best move even if they wouldn’t mind having him back in 2012.

Indians beat writer jumps in Lake Erie to settle a bet

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Back in September Cleveland Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes ruffled a lot of feathers when he declared the Indians DOA. His rationale: too many injuries to Indians starters weakened the club too greatly. Even if they did make the playoffs, Hoynes argued, they wouldn’t go far.

A reader made a bet with him at the time: if the Indians didn’t make the World Series, he’d jump in Lake Erie. If they did, Hoynes would.

Today Hoynes made good on his bet. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a baseball writer drop trou, by the way:


The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
Library of Congress
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.