James Karinchak to begin rehab assignment

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It has been a long time, but James Karinchak is inching closer to his Cleveland Guardians return. The electric reliever has officially left Arizona and has arrived in Columbus to begin a rehab assignment. This is after Karinchak suffered an injury during spring training which led to his extended stay in Arizona.

James Karinchak acquired the eyes of many once he took the mound for the Guardians. Incredibly effective for Cleveland, Karinchak’s first two seasons saw the reliever finish with a 2.51 ERA, 1.052 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts per 9.

2021 was not as kind to Karinchak as 2019 and 2020. In 60 games Karinchak had a 4.07 ERA, 1.211 WHIP, and 12.7 strikeouts per 9. This includes a 39 game stretch where it was about as bad as bad can be for the young right hander. Allowing 24 runs in 34.2 innings, a slash line of .241/.360/.474, an an ERA of 6.23. Important to note is that this start predates the sticky stuff crackdown in MLB by about a month. Focusing on post June 21 shows Karinchak with slightly better numbers, but still less than acceptable by an MLB reliever (15 earned runs in 23.2 innings, .233/.346/.456 opponent slash line, 5.70 ERA).

Even if James Karinchak does not fully return to form it will be a massive boost for the Guardians bullpen. Bringing Karinchak back into the mix would provide a little bit of stability to a group that has been up and down to start the year.

Cleveland allows just four hits in 3-0 shutout of Angels

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The Cleveland Baseball Club held the Los Angeles Angels to just four hits in a 3-0 shutout in the MLB Little League Classic.

After two straight wins at home over the Angels, the Cleveland Baseball Club took their talents to Williamsport for the Little League Classic. Even a change of venue did not impact the final result as Cleveland completed the three game sweep of the Angels following a 5-1 win Saturday.

Cal Quantrill took over where Triston McKenzie left off the night before. Quantrill struck out nine while allowing two hits and two walks in 7 innings. Quantrill was rarely in trouble, and when he was he managed to get out of it. There is something to a pitcher working his way out of trouble and the fact Quantrill is showing that trait is encouraging in his progression as a pitcher.

On the other hand James Karinchak did not have the same success as Quantrill. Karinchak allowed three of four batters he faced to reach base via two walks and a single. It was a quick hook as Bryan Shaw came in to get a double-play on his second and last pitch of the game. Emmanuel Clase came on in the 9th for a relatively easy outing, only allowing an infield single to Jared Walsh while recording three outs.

Offensively things got started early as Amed Rosario continued his hot streak. After Myles Straw doubled to lead-off the inning, Rosario crushed the third pitch of his at-bat into left field to give Cleveland an early 2-0 lead.

The Straw-Rosario combo at the top of the order has been quite intriguing lately and could be the top two bats in the order next season.

Cleveland’s third run was scored in the 4th inning as Straw grounded into a fielder’s choice which allowed Austin Hedges to score.

Cleveland has an off day Monday and will return home to take on the Rangers Tuesday.

 

Daniel Johnson homers in 3-1 win over Twins

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The Cleveland Baseball Club outfielder provided just enough for the team to come out on top over the Twins Tuesday. 

Called up the day before and in need to prove that he has a spot on the big league roster, Daniel Johnson stepped up to the plate in the 5th inning already 0-1. Eager to get a hit after flying out in the 2nd, Johnson took a hack at a first pitch curveball and missed. Opening an at-bat with a off speed pitch, particularly a curveball is a risky endeavor as it can lead to a batter keying in on a fastball since it is unlikely he will see two curves in a row. That is just what happened as Johnson took a middle-in fastball on the very next pitch and hit it on to the concourse in right field.

This was one of two hits on the day for Daniel Johnson, the second of which was a lot less exciting, an infield single. However, the important aspect of his first hit it was enough to give Cleveland a win. Minnesota could only muster one run in the contest while Cleveland scored three, two of which came on Johnson’s home run in the 5th. The third run came in the 6th with Amed Rosario scoring on a Wilson Ramos sacrifice.

The story of the game was not all about Daniel Johnson and the offense. Eli Morgan took the hill to start the game and delivered an impressive performance. Morgan would allow just three hits and two walks over 6 innings, keeping the Twins off the scoreboard along the way.

Minnesota did have a chance to do some damage thanks to a shaky outing from Trevor Stephan. Stephan walked the bases loaded while failing to record an out in the 8th. James Karinchak was called into action and managed to keep the damage to a minimum, just one run scoring on a fielder’s choice. Emmanuel Clase would come in the 9th, striking out two batters to earn the save.

Cleveland loses to A’s in extras 4-3

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Extra-innings were not kind to the Cleveland Baseball Club as they lost to the Oakland Athletics by a score of 4-3.

A two-out RBI double from Jed Lowrie in the Top of the 10th gave Oakland the lead and that would be just enough to hand the Cleveland Baseball Club a loss Tuesday night. In the bottom of the 10th it was a groundout from Amed Rosario, a line out from Jose Ramirez, and a strikeout from Bradley Zimmer which ended the game in three straight at-bats.

Cleveland actually had a chance to win this game prior to extras, but James Karinchak was not able to hold the lead in the 8th. Karinchak allowed one run on two hits in just 1 inning. The concerning aspect for Karinchak is that he failed to record a strikeout. Karinchak has not quite been himself for several months this season leading to speculation about why he was so much better earlier than later in the season.

Myles Straw and Rosario both went 2-5 with a run scored in the contest, the only Cleveland batters to collect multiple hits. Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes combined to go 0-6 with three walks between them (Reyes walking twice). Harold Ramirez and Owen Miller were the only other batters to collect a hit as both went 1-3 with a walk.

Two of Cleveland’s run came on infield singles, Harold Ramirez in the 1st and Rosario in the 2nd. Straw’s RBI double, also in the 2nd, was Cleveland’s only extra-base hit in the contest.

Cleveland defeats Detroit 7-5

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The Cleveland Baseball Club came away with a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigers after falling behind early.

Finding themselves down 5-2 in the 4th inning, things were not looking great early for the Cleveland Baseball Club. A short outing from Zach Plesac meant the team had to piece together 5 innings of pitching. Plesac allowed five runs on two hits with three walks as his struggles continue. Luckily, Cleveland scored five unanswered runs en route to a 7-5 victory.

The comeback started in the 4th with Oscar Mercado reaching on a walk. A throwing error from Tigers shortstop Zach Short resulted in Mercado on third and Owen Miller on second. Andres Gimenez would hit a sacrifice fly to bring Cleveland within two. A RBI single from Austin Hedges would make it a 5-4 game in the very next at-bat. Ernie Clement would follow with a RBI double, tying the game at 5.

In the 7th is when Cleveland would take the lead for good. Myles Straw reached on an infield single. Bradley Zimmer would step to the plate and crush a big fly to the right field stands, giving Cleveland a 7-5 lead.

James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase would lock down the 8th and 9th innings as Cleveland came away with a series and season win over the Tigers.

Cleveland will take on the Cincinnati Reds Monday in a makeup game from earlier this season. Afterwards the Oakland Athletics come to town for a three game series.

James Karinchak is struggling lately

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Things have not been great for the Cleveland Baseball Club relief pitcher over the last 10 games.

At his best, James Karinchak is one of the most electric relief pitchers in all of baseball. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Baseball Club, Karinchak has not been at his best lately. Over the last 10 games he has blown two saves allowing nine runs on nine hits and walking five batters in just 8.1 innings. These numbers have led to a bloated 9.72 ERA during this span.

Opponents are slashing .333/.419/.667 with an OPS of 1.085 in 36 at-bats against James Karinchak. Six of the nine hits against the reliever have gone for extra-bases (three doubles, three home runs).

The last two outings for James Karinchak are the most alarming. In these two appearances Karinchak has allowed 5 runs on 5 hits with two walks and a HBP in just one third of an inning against the Chicago White Sox. In total Karinchak has faced nine batters in his past two outings and only recorded one out. While Chicago is a superior team,

James Karinchak has shown he is capable of pitching better against the White Sox. In his first four outings he allowed just one baserunner without allowing a run. The last four have been less than stellar. The White Sox have totaled 11 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 2.1 innings against Karinchak. The strikeouts totals have also dropped with eight in his first four appearances and just two over his last four.

Overall, James Karinchak has shown that is an effective relief pitcher for the Cleveland Baseball Club this season. In 49 appearances compiling a 3.74 ERA, 1.182 WHIP with a 13.8 K/9 even with the recent struggles. This could be just a bump in the road for the reliever and it is not out of the question he bounces back in a big way. At this moment this is just something to monitor, but if things continue to trend in this direction that is when genuine concern should become more of a reality.

Cleveland uses 13 hits to top Chicago 12-11

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The Cleveland Baseball Club did the unthinkable as they managed to outhit the Chicago White Sox and come away with a win.

Considering the overall lack of offense for the Cleveland Baseball Club this season, coming out on top of a slugfest did not seem to be a likely scenario. However, that was the case Saturday night as they topped the Chicago White Sox 12-11.

Cleveland used 13 hits including three home runs, six doubles, and a triple en route to scoring 12 runs. Every single batter in the lineup got a hit with Amed Rosario, Jose Ramirez, Harold Ramirez, and Austin Hedges even collecting two.

Homering in the contest were Amed Rosario, Austin Hedges, and Owen Miller. It was the first career home run for Miller who took Dallas Keuchel deep in the 5th. Keuchel would exit in the very next inning. 

Pitching wise it was a rough outing all around. Triston McKenzie got the start and Chicago scored six runs on four hits and three walks in just 4 innings. Bryan Shaw would allow two runs on three hits in just one third of an inning. James Karinchak allowed three runs on two hits and one walk in one third of an inning as well. Justin Garza, Nick Sandlin, and Emmanuel Clase were the only Cleveland pitchers to not allow a run to cross, but they only accounted for 4 innings in the contest.

At this point Cleveland just needs to let the young guys play and see what they have. Eventually some more highly regarded prospects will get their chance, but for now it is evaluation time with any win they get along the way as a bonus. 

Even with the win, it is still an 8 game lead for the White Sox in the division. Cleveland trails Oakland by 5.5 for the second Wild Card spot

Cleveland has a chance to win the series against the White Sox Sunday at 2:10 P.M. 

Cleveland gives up two runs late in 6-4 loss

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Issues in the 8th led to the Cleveland Baseball Club letting a tie game slip away from them leading to a 6-4 loss.

The post-trade deadline Cleveland Baseball Club is experiencing the same issues the pre-deadline version did. With the game tied at 4 in the 8th, it was James Karinchak who came into the mound. Karinchak failed to record an out as the White Sox tallied two runs on three hits and one walk. 

There was a moment where tempers flared as Karinchak unintentionally hit Jose Abreu in the helmet with a wild pitch. This allowed the final run to score as Chicago would go on to win the game 6-4 as a result. Karinchak was received by Nick Wittgren who proceeded to strike out the next three batters. 

Prior to the issues in the 8th, Cleveland was able to get out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a two RBI double from Franmil Reyes. Chicago would go on to score three unanswered runs from the 2nd to 4th innings off of JC Mejia. Mejia would last just 4.1 innings as he allowed four runs on four hits and four walks.

Jose Ramirez would tie things up in the 5th with a RBI single. The White Sox would again take the lead, this time by Blake Parker walking in a run, the final run charged to Mejia.

A solo home run from Franmil Reyes in the 8th would find things all tied up yet again. But this preceded the ineffective outing from Karinchak which ultimately led to the loss for Cleveland.

This was the first game since Terry Francona stepped away for remainder of the season. Cleveland is in the mode of finding things out about the younger fringe type guys on the roster , so a high volume of loses the rest of the way would hardly be surprising. Game 2 in Chicago is set to take place at 7:10 P.M.

How should Cleveland approach the deadline?

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With the trade deadline rapidly approaching and the Cleveland Baseball Club pretty far out from contention, how should they handle the next few days?

At this current moment in time the Cleveland Baseball Club is nearly 10 games back of the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox and there are three teams in between ahead of them in the race for the second Wild Card. Considering their current spot in the standings and the fact they are still missing the majority of their pitching staff, it is time to consider selling at the trade deadline. Cleveland needs to reset their roster, get some answers on their younger players, and get ready for next season.

As far as trade candidates go, anyone not named Shane Bieber should be discussed. That does mean that exploring a trade involving Jose Ramirez should be on the table, but considering the high price they will be asking for it is unlikely to happen. However, if a team is desperate enough and offers a king’s ransom for Ramirez, those expirations better turn into serious considerations.

Another player that should fall into this category is James Karinchak. Cleveland has no reason to trade Karinchak, but if a team is looking to solidify their bullpen and offers a worthwhile package, they would be fools not to consider. Add in the fact of the volatility with relievers in general and the fact the team add more talent into their system, it is not out of the realm of possibilities.

Players that could/should be moved

Finally, the section everyone has been waiting for. Who could the team actually move? For starters Cesar Hernandez seems like a no-brainer. Hernandez has a team-option for next season and currently has a career-high 17 home runs on the year. Any contender would love to add someone who can hit from both sides of the plate and extend their lineup just a bit more.

If any team actually comes to the table and offers anything for Eddie Rosario they should take it. Rosario has been a disappointment in Cleveland this season and if they can flip him or anything they should take advantage of that opportunity.

Bryan Shaw is another name that could be on the move. Contenders are always looking for relief help and Shaw is in the middle of a renaissance season after three unsuccessful seasons elsewhere. Shaw’s 2021 ERA of 2.84 is the best since the 2014 season while his 1.331 WHIP has not been bested since his last season in Cleveland (1.213 in 2017).

Bargain options for contenders

Much like what their approach to Eddie Rosario should be, they should apply that same logic to Bradley Zimmer. If a team is looking for someone to be a pinch runner late in games, Zimmer is their guy. From Cleveland’s perspective they need to clear some room in the outfield to get better looks at other options in their system.

Blake Parker is another relief arm that could be on the move. Parker has been steady in his limited role this season (2.70 ERA and 1.260 WHIP in 16.2 innings). Even if Parker is a moderate upgrade over lower end relievers, teams should be interested in some capacity.

The catchers

Cleveland should explore trading one of their catchers. Roberto Perez is making $5.5 million this season with a team option worth $7 million for next year while Austin Hedges is making just under $3.3 million and is entering his final year of arbitration next season. Considering the offensive limitations of both players and the dollar figures the team is spending in this area, moving one of these salaries prior to the deadline should be considered. Hedges has four home runs and 14 RBI in 49 games with a .159/.204/.245 slash line while Perez has six home runs and 15 RBI in 30 games with an uninspiring .153/.272/.357 slash line. To be blunt, the catcher position has been a black hole this season and that is being nice. Moving on and trying to find someone else to man the position beyond this season should be an option for the front office.

Cleveland avoids sweep, beat Rays 3-2

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The Cleveland Baseball Club avoided being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays with a 3-2 win, snapping an 11-game losing streak against the club.

The series between the Cleveland Baseball Club and the Tampa Bay Rays had not been going well through the first three games. Tampa took the first three games with Cleveland facing the possibility of being swept in a four-game series Sunday. Even when things appeared to be heading in that direction, Cleveland rallied late and was able to pull ahead of the Rays and secure the all too elusive victory against Tampa with a slim 3-2 victory. With the win Cleveland snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Rays.

Down by a run in the bottom of the 1st it was Cesar Hernandez who continued his power surge. Hernandez launched a solo home run to tie the game. It was the 17th of the season for Hernandez, a new career-high.

Scoring for both sides was kept in check until the 6th inning. Former division foe Nelson Cruz stepped into the box and as expected crushed a solo home run to break the 1-1 tie. Tampa would hold onto the lead until the 8th when some magic happened.

Hernandez would start things off with a leadoff single. Amed Rosario would be hit by a pitch in the very next at-bat, setting things up for a potential comeback. Harold Ramirez would drive a ball into right center allowing Hernandez to score the tying run and Rosario to advance to third.

Bobby Bradley would drive in the tie-breaking run on a sacrifice fly in the very next at-bat.

Now leading 3-2, Emmanuel Clase would come on to close and things went about as well as they could have. Clase needed only 14 pitches to end the game and preserving a much needed win for Cleveland.

Prior to Clase closing the game, Cleveland got an outstanding start from Triston McKenzie. McKenzie woulda allow two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and only one walk in 6 innings. This was easily one of the better performances for McKenzie this season and could be a sign of good things to come from a pitcher who has been consistently inconsistent.

Bryan Shaw would follow McKenzie and allow just one hit on 13 pitches. James Karinchak would get the win in the contest by pitching during the 8th inning which saw Cleveland mount their comeback. Karinchak allowed just one baserunner on a walk in his lone inning of work.

The win prevented Cleveland from falling even further back in the division and Wild Card races. While they are still trail by a large margin in both, they are not necessarily out of it at this moment in time. It will be an off day on Monday before returning to action Tuesday as they host the St. Louis Cardinals.