The Guardians have called up flamethrowing reliever James Karinchak from Triple-A, per Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. Karinchak was activated from a rehab assignment and optioned to Triple-A only yesterday, but an injury in the bullpen prompted Cleveland to call on their one-time stopper. He will make his season debut for the big league club whenever he first gets into a game.
Karinchak was briefly the preeminent fireman in the game during a breakout 2020 campaign that saw him post a 2.67 ERA in 27 appearances over the final two months of the season. Karinchak picked up eight holds and a save while striking out an absurd 48.6 percent of opposing batters. There seemed little doubt that the former ninth-round draft pick would be a key part of the Guardians’ end-of-game formula moving forward.
It began that way in 2021 as Karinchak picked up 11 saves and didn’t even allow an earned run until his 14th outing of the season. Things took a turn for the worse, however, and Karinchak ended the year on the injured list. Not to draw a direct correlation, but it was certainly a point of interest that Karinchak began to struggle around the time of MLB’s crackdown on sticky stuff. From June 21 when MLB started checking for banned substances until the end of the season, Karinchak’s ERA bloated to 5.70 ERA/6.09 FIP. Of course, he also sustained an injury, and there could be any number of mitigating circumstances that led Karinchak’s effectiveness to wane down the stretch.
In the corresponding move, Anthony Gose was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left triceps. The injury isn’t thought to be serious. Ridenour provides this quote from pitching coach Carl Willis, who said of the roster move, “Unfortunately we had to go the IL route just because with the doubleheaders and the schedule as it is, we can’t go short one day.”
Gose is perhaps the heartwarming, this-is-why-we-love-this-game story of the year. The 31-year-old former outfielder has successfully pulled off a reverse Rick Ankiel and made himself into a valued piece of Cleveland’s bullpen. The southpaw has appeared in 22 games, logged 21 innings of work, and posted an overall 4.71 ERA/5.07 FIP while striking out an impressive 30.4 percent of enemy combatants. He has struggled a bit with his command, however, walking 15.2% of batters, almost double the Major League average 8.2 percent walk rate. Based on Willis’ comments, the Guardians likely expect Gose to return once his 15 days are up.