Kremer tabbed for 1st postseason start in win-or-go-home spot

October 10th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- With their season on the line, the Orioles will be turning to to start Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Rangers, set for Tuesday night at Globe Life Field.

Kremer will be making his postseason debut in nearly the highest-stakes matchup possible. Baltimore, which is trailing 2-0 after dropping Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five ALDS at Camden Yards, must reel off three straight wins over the next four days to extend its season.

The start to an improbable comeback needs to begin Tuesday, and the O’s believe Kremer is up to the task.

“Dean's thrown the ball extremely well. He’s had a nice season for us,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We're looking forward to watching him start tomorrow.”

Kremer said he found out he would likely be the Game 3 starter on Sunday morning -- prior to the Orioles’ 11-8 Game 2 loss -- but Hyde wanted to make sure the team wouldn’t need the 27-year-old right-hander in relief of Grayson Rodriguez.

Baltimore used seven relievers after Rodriguez’s 1 2/3-inning outing, but neither Kremer nor fellow righty Kyle Gibson (who also could have been in consideration for the Game 3 nod) were utilized out of the bullpen.

Kremer will be taking the mound with a heavy heart. A dual Israeli-American citizen, he has been monitoring the recent events in Israel, where some members of his family reside. Israel is now at war with Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, and there were attacks on the nation over the weekend.

On Monday, Kremer shared that his family in Israel is OK and confirmed he still wanted to take the ball for Baltimore in ALDS Game 3.

“Obviously, it's a very sad situation. A lot of things are being brought to light. But everybody's OK right now,” said Kremer, who represented Israel at the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. “[Hyde] and almost every single person in the clubhouse has come in and checked on me at some point over the last 48 hours. And I'm very grateful for that.

“Is there a hesitation? No. I still want to pitch. But I mean, it's going to be in the back of my head.”

Hyde is confident that Kremer is ready. 

“I saw him at breakfast this morning. We had a nice conversation,” Hyde said. “Gave him my support and sympathies for him and his family that's involved, and he seemed OK. He seemed like he was ready to pitch. He seemed like he felt comfortable with where his family situation was at with the whole thing.

“Obviously, he's very disturbed and there's a lot of things going on. But I didn't sense that it was going to affect -- I think he's really looking forward to pitching tomorrow so I didn't think it was going to affect him.”

Although Kremer has never pitched on this type of stage before, he showed the same calm demeanor he has all season while discussing his upcoming outing -- the biggest of his four-year big league career -- prior to the Orioles’ off-day workout at Globe Life Field on Monday evening.

There weren’t any nerves or butterflies for Kremer at that point.

“So far, they haven't hit me yet. I think they'll hit me at some point in the morning,” Kremer said. “I’ll just kind of treat it like every other start.”

Kremer, who had a 4.12 ERA in a career-high 32 starts during the regular season, doesn’t have much history with Texas. He has a 5.17 ERA in three outings against the Rangers, but he pitched well against them earlier this year, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings on May 27 in Baltimore.

In Kremer’s only previous start in Arlington on April 17, 2021, he allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings. He’s matured greatly as a pitcher since then and has gained valuable experience.

Not only did Kremer start the Orioles’ postseason clincher on Sept. 17 -- when he tossed five innings of one-run ball against the Rays -- but he also took the mound when they captured the AL East title on Sept. 28, delivering 5 1/3 scoreless innings vs. the Red Sox in his final outing of the regular season.

“Both those games had a pretty electric atmosphere,” said Kremer, who will pitch in an even louder environment at Globe Life Field on Tuesday.

Kremer may not be the only Orioles regular starter to take the mound Tuesday. Since a loss will end the team’s season, Hyde wouldn’t rule out calling on any pitchers to try to get a win.

That could include the veteran Gibson, who hasn’t pitched yet this postseason. The 35-year-old right-hander would be the most likely candidate to start Wednesday’s Game 4 -- but Baltimore has to get there first, and if Gibson can help the O’s win Game 3, they’ll call on him to contribute.

It’s possible the Orioles could use Gibson in relief to help navigate Game 3, then bring back right-hander Kyle Bradish on three days of rest to start Game 4. Bradish threw only 84 pitches while allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings in Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Game 1

Whatever it takes to save the O’s season, Hyde is willing to do it.

“All hands will be on deck tomorrow,” Hyde said. “And hopefully, Dean can give us some innings, get a nice start for us.”