Two weeks later, Rauch lost his seventh game of the season on a late home run surrendered to pinch-hitter Eric Chavez in the Subway Series. It was his second defeat at the hands of the Evil Empire. Once again, I chose to focus on the negative, writing a piece on how he was leading the Mets in losses at the time and how so few relievers in Mets history had ever led the team in losses.
Suffice it to say, I wasn't Rauch's biggest supporter at the time. But since mid-June, Rauch has done his best to make me eat all of the negative words I've written about him. Let's just say I'm beyond stuffed from all that word chow I've stuffed down my throat.
|Seriously, Jon. You don't have to look at me like that. I really am going to apologize to you.|
Since losing to the Yankees on June 10, Jon Rauch has appeared in 34 games (including today's 6-2 victory over the Cardinals), pitching 25⅓ innings. In those two dozen-plus innings, Rauch has allowed a mere three runs on nine hits, walking six while striking out 17. He is also the owner of a sparkling 1.07 ERA and a ridiculously low 0.59 WHIP over those 34 games. In addition, opposing hitters have batted .103 against Rauch (9-for-87), with a .168 on-base percentage and miniscule .172 slugging percentage. Basically, Rauch has gotten opposing hitters produce the numbers I produced in Little League when I batted 15th in my team's 15-man lineup. (Okay, I actually batted .091, but the official scorer cheated me out of a hit. He must have been related to umpire Dave Rackley.)
But as great as Rauch has been when he's come into the game at the beginning of an inning, he's been even better when he's called upon to put out the fire started by one of his teammates. Since mid-June, Rauch has inherited 13 runners when he's come into the game in the middle of an inning. All 13 runners were left stranded.
What do all those numbers mean? It means I owe Jon Rauch a big apology. So here goes.
Jon, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for picking on you because of the way you performed over the first two months of the season. I'm sorry for writing that piece on the tattoo you got while you were recovering from your injury. I'm sorry for complaining about my low batting average in Little League. (Oh, wait. That had nothing to do with you.)
Mostly, I'm sorry for not realizing that you're a damn good pitcher. I now feel completely comfortable when you come into the game in any situation, whether it be to start an inning or whether you're brought into a bases-loaded no-out jam.
You proved me wrong with your fantastic second half. Hope you can accept my apology. (Oh, and please don't mention that .091 Little League batting average I had to anyone. That's between you, me and my 4½ readers. Thanks.)