Karinchak excels for Cleveland in rookie season
Every baseball player dreams of making the big-league team out of training camp. After just three minor league seasons, Cleveland Indians’ reliever James Karinchak achieved this goal by earning a spot on the club’s 2020 roster. The hurler has embraced this opportunity and is glad to be a part of Cleveland’s winning culture.
“It’s an honor to break the team out of camp. It’s obviously always been one of my goals growing up,” said Karinchak. “To be a part of such a great organization has been a lot of fun.”
The right-hander is breaking into the big-leagues under unusual circumstances, as ballparks are currently empty throughout the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Karinchak acknowledges it’s odd to play without fans, he says that he has still been able to lock in when it is time to take the mound.
This has been evident through Karinchak’s performance, as he has dominated hitters in his rookie season. The right-hander has posted an impressive 0.71 ERA, while striking out 24 batters in 11 appearances with Cleveland. This success can be largely attributed to Karinchak’s fastball, which averages 96 MPH. The hurler also relies heavily on his curveball, which keeps hitters off balance.
Karinchak considers his highlight of the season to be when he notched his first career save, which came against the first-place Minnesota Twins at the beginning of the season. In the appearance, the hurler retired Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson and Jorge Polanco in order, securing the Indians’ fifth win of the year.
The club has continued this success, as they currently sit at second place in the AL Central with a 14-9 record. Karinchak believes that veteran manager Terry Francona has been integral in the club’s success, as they navigate this difficult season.
“He always has the right words to say, and he always keeps us in the right mindset,” said Karinchak. “At the end of the day, whether it’s with fans or without fans [the goal] is to win the World Series.”
Francona led his club to a three-game sweep against the Detroit Tigers this past weekend, which Karnichak considers to be the team’s highlight of the 2020 campaign thus far. The reliever played a key role in two of these victories, as he struck out five batters without allowing a hit over 2.2 innings this weekend.
James Karinchak and the Cleveland Indians will look to take over first place in the AL Central, as they continue their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.