Willie Calhoun's game-winning homer off James Karinchak was extra sweet
By Adam Weinrib
It's not shocking the Yankees are hovering around .500, considering how even-steven their season has been so far.
Clay Holmes escapes a bases-loaded jam in Cleveland, then surrenders a 2-0 lead in the ninth to the same team a few weeks later out of nowhere? Sure. The Yankees drop the first two against Minnesota, including a bullpen meltdown, only for Domingo Germán and Gerrit Cole to rock them to sleep and secure a split? Why not?
And now, in shocking, yet somehow also unsurprising fashion, the Yankees have gotten vengeance for Guardians reliever James Karinchak's gyrations in Cleveland by hitting him in the mouth Tuesday with one of their least helpful bats to date.
We've seen a little bit of everything so far this season for the undermanned Bombers. So why wouldn't we see the Yankees defeat the Guardians twice due to late clouts from struggling hitters Franchy Cordero (and an Oswaldo Cabrera double) and Willie Calhoun?
After Anthony Volpe went yard in the sixth and Anthony Rizzo drove home Gleyber Torres (against Karinchak) with a line drive RBI single, it was Calhoun's time to shine and sock his first Yankees home run. And while Karinchak's hyperbolic celly in The Land was earned (?) when he struck out Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton to strand a runner at third, it still felt 50% better to watch him surrender this dinger over any other option in a Guardians uniform.
Guardians reliever James Karinchak didn't get to celebrate giving up game-winning home run to Yankees Willie Calhoun
Calhoun's shot probably humbled Karinchak -- nah, just kidding, he's on another level. He probably already forgot he did it.
Either way, a win's a win, and this one was significant. With Clarke Schmidt vs. Shane Bieber on the horizon, followed by three games at Tropicana Field, the Yankees could not afford to drop a Gerrit Cole start. Thanks to a rally against the most insipid bullpen arm in baseball, they managed to avert disaster for at least one night.
It couldn't have happened to a humbler guy in Calhoun, who was discarded by the fan base before first pitch in favor of either Oswald Peraza or an external option like Gary Sánchez. And it couldn't have happened to a more insufferable Guardian, who should probably avoid posting Nazi quotes on his social media from hereon out.