What they're saying about Dean Kremer, the Orioles' starters and a sweep of the Reds - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Dean Kremer, the Orioles’ starters and a sweep of the Reds

Photo Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI—What happened? The Orioles completed their best week of the season, winning their fourth straight game and their sixth in seven games, completing a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, 11-1, on Sunday.

After beginning the week winning three of four games against the New York Yankees, the Orioles outscored the Reds, 16-2.

Oriole starter Dean Kremer allowed one hit in six innings, retiring the first 13 Cincinnati batters. Kremer, Cole Irvin and John Means allowed six hits in 19 1/3 scoreless innings this weekend.

Anthony Santander drove in five runs with a single and a grand slam in the ninth. Jordan Westburg hit a two-run home run in the first, and Ryan McKenna hit his second home run this week.

The Orioles are 23-11 and lead New York by a game in the American League East.

“We come off a big series with the Yankees, and we’re looking to continue it,” Westburg said. “We don’t want to take series off. We don’t want to take games off. We don’t want to give anything away.”

How good have the starters been? Kremer followed Irvin’s two hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday night and Means’ three-hit, seven-inning performance on Saturday night.

“Really battled, all pitches working today, kept them off balance, super aggressive in the strike zone, fantastic,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Kremer. “We pitched really well this series.”

It’s often said that hitting is contagious, and so is starting pitching.

“I definitely agree with that,” Kremer said. “A couple of years ago, we had that run where starters went 8-plus, and you see the Mariners are doing it now with their starting rotation. I definitely think that’s a thing.”

“A guy sees what a guy does the night before, you want to match it,” Hyde said. “Right down the line, we’ve been doing that so far. We’re on a good stretch of starts.”

For Kremer, following Irvin and Means was a good idea.

“Try to follow suit like the other starters,” he said. “A lot of mix and pitch to our strengths and really attack these guys.”

Westburg has enjoyed watching the Orioles’ starters work.

“Very impressed. It’s awesome to play behind,” he said. “These guys are competitive and go in to work every single day. Everybody who touches the bump looks like they’re coming in there and they’re attacking guys, which is what you want to see.

“You don’t want to see somebody come in and feel for the zone. These guys all have really good stuff or else they wouldn’t be here. To see them come in, trust their stuff and attack is special.”

How good was the offense? The Orioles have scored in double digits four times this season, and their 11 runs matches their second-highest total.

Santander hit the third grand slam of his career and equaled his career high with five RBIs.

“That’s the best left-handed swing he’s taken in a long time,” Hyde said. “Not just because of the result but because of how free and easy it was. Flat through the baseball. I was really happy for him in that moment because he’s been really, really grinding. He got off to a slow start last year, too. He’s such a talented hitter and a huge part of our lineup, fun to watch him swing the bat the way he did today.”

The Orioles scored three runs in the first inning, the only time they’ve scored in the first inning in a road game. The 14 games without scoring in the first inning away from home was their longest stretch to begin a season since a 17-game stretch in 1972.

“The last couple of games we haven’t put up a whole lot of support for our pitchers,” Westburg said. “They’re pitching their butt off and we’d like to make it a little bit easier game on those guys. For us to put up some runs today was pretty cool.”

What’s wrong with Kimbrel?  Orioles pitching coach Drew French doesn’t think there’s anything drastically wrong with Craig Kimbrel, who has failed to convert save opportunities in three of his last four games.

“When it comes to pitchers and how they move, a lot of times it can be kind of like a slow leak, It’s something you don’t recognize and you don’t see maybe for a few outings.

“As a staff, it’s really important for us to be in front of those things and get the information to the player at the right time. It’s a two-way street. It’s a two-way conversation. Ultimately, it’s about to getting him back to being the nasty Craig Kimbrel, and that’s where the focus has been.

“Execution is part of it, but a lot of it is belief, a belief and confidence and seeing yourself do well. That’s the springboard for all of his stats.”

What’s happening in the minor leagues? Triple-A Norfolk committed four errors in its 6-3 loss to Nashville.

Bruce Zimmermann (2-3) allowed four runs, three unearned, on five hits in five innings. Rightfielder Hudson Haskin homered.

Centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. returned to the High-A Aberdeen lineup and was hitless in four at-bats but scored both the IronBirds’ runs in the 5-2 loss at Brooklyn.

Designated hitter Maxwell Costes had three hits in Single-A Delmarva’s 5-2 loss to Fayetteville.

Double-A Bowie’s game with Erie was rained out and won’t be made up.

What does it mean? The Orioles are playing extremely well, and with consistently good starts, they’ll be hard to beat.

What’s the word? “I think we have the potential to be the best team in the big leagues. Our offense is unbelievable. The defense that they play is unbelievable. Our pitching staff when we put it together, pretty good. I like where we’re at.”-Kremer on the Orioles.

What’s the stat of the day? The Orioles have allowed two or fewer runs in the last seven games, their best streak since an eight-game streak from August 1st-9th, 1980.

What’s next? The Orioles are off on Monday and begin a two-game series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Corbin Burnes (3-1, 2.69) will face Trevor Williams (3-0, 2.27). Game time at Nationals Park is 6:45 p.m.

Call for questions: Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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