CLEVELAND — Each time Indians reliever James Karinchak takes two steps forward, his one step back is looming. On Friday night, he blew his fifth game of the season, failing to record an out and allowing three runs in an outing that led to the Indians’ 4-3 loss to the Red Sox at Progressive Field.
Karinchak’s inning unraveled quickly. He entered the eighth with a two-run lead and walked the first batter he faced. After a mound visit, he gave up a single to Jarren Duran, putting two runners on with no outs and prompting yet another meeting on the rubber. After that, No. 9 hitter Jonathan Araúz showed bunt on the first three pitches of his at-bat before a two-strike count forced him to swing away, resulting in the deciding three-run blast.
“Fastball command,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said of Karinchak’s problem on Friday. “He got back into the count with the breaking ball, but the fastball was up in the zone because [in] the bunt situation he was down in the zone. [Araúz] had fouled it off with the breaking ball. Then the 3-2 [pitch], just trying to — you’ve got to throw a strike to the No. 9 hitter there, and [Araúz] got one centered and he put a good swing on it.”
Karinchak quickly started getting more national recognition in 2020 — and rightfully so — as his strikeout numbers climbed to insane heights. His…