BALTIMORE—Dean Kremer will be the final Orioles pitcher to get his second start on Monday night against the Seattle Mariners. Of the first nine games, Kremer has the shortest start, a three-plus inning effort against the New York Yankees on April 6th, but it was not without its moments.
Kremer gave up three runs on five hits and walked four, getting removed after he walked the bases loaded in the fourth in a game the Orioles lost to the Yankees, 7-2. In the first, he escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out the side.
In their first nine games, the Orioles have three quality starts. On April 2nd, John Means gave up just one hit in seven innings to the Boston Red Sox, and Bruce Zimmermann has a pair to three-run, six-inning performances.
Kremer had a 6.32 ERA in five starts in spring training, and manager Brandon Hyde placed him in the fifth spot because the Orioles wanted to limit his innings.
When Kremer, 25, came to the big leagues last September, he showed promise, allowing three runs on eight hits in 16 innings in his first three starts. He won only the first of them, 5-1 against New York, but didn’t win his next two, in part because the Orioles scored just a run in each game.
He ended 2020 by giving up seven runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings to Boston on September 23rd and watching his ERA soar from 1.69 to 4.82.
Besides Kremer, Jorge López has disappointed. In his two starts, López has allowed 11 runs on 11 hits in 8 2/3 innings, with an 11.42 ERA.
The Orioles have a team ERA of 5.05, and that will have to improve if they want to avoid a repeat of their difficult second week. After winning three straight at Boston to begin the season, they’ve lost five of six.
Their bullpen has seen some solid stat lines, and some poor ones, too.
Tanner Scott, who had a 1.31 ERA in 25 games in 2020, has yet to allow a run and just one hit in three appearances. César Valdez has a 1.69 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.
Shawn Armstrong, who wasn’t available for the first three games because he was on the paternity list, had a 1.80 ERA in 2020. So far in 2021, Armstrong has given up six earned runs in two innings for an ERA of 27.00.
Dillon Tate, who manager Brandon Hyde envisions for a late-inning role, has given up two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Hyde has nine relievers in his bullpen, including Rule 5 picks, right-handers Mac Sceroler (three runs in 3 2/3 innings) and Tyler Wells (three runs in 5 2/3).
Schedule gazing: In last season’s 60-game schedule during the pandemic, the Orioles played 40 games against the American League East and 20 against the National League East.
The move was designed to reduce risk, but this year, coast-to-coast travel is back in a conventional 162-game season.
It was strange for the Orioles to play the Miami Marlins more often than the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, traditional American League rivals.
Those rivalries are back in 2021, and the Orioles play their next seven games against the Seattle Mariners, who were their final home opponent in 2019, and the Texas Rangers, who they also last faced in September 2019.
“We’re playing two teams that are in a similar spot organizationally,” Hyde said. “I was looking at the Seattle roster today, pretty unfamiliar with a lot of the players, Texas as well.”
When the Orioles play the White Sox in Chicago on May 27th, it will be the first meeting between the teams in more than two years. They last played on May 1, 2019.
“You rely a lot on our advance guys,” Hyde said. “You watch the starters, you watch their bullpen arms, probably watch some previous games. You try to familiarize yourself with some of their players.
“It is a challenge, and it’s the same against us, too. They don’t know a lot of our players, either. It makes it fun, thought. It makes it seeing somebody new. It’s a challenge for both sides.”
Starters for Mariners series: Dean Kremer (0-1) and Justus Sheffield (0-1) are scheduled to pitch Monday. On Tuesday, John Means (1-0) will face Nick Margevicius (0-1). On Wednesday, Matt Harvey (0-1) will face Justin Dunn (0-0), and ,on Thursday afternoon, Bruce Zimmermann (1-0) will face Marco Gonzales (0-1).
Of the Mariners starters, only Dunn is right-handed. Thursday’s game begins at 1:05 p.m.