The Orioles offense scuffled on a sunny afternoon in Baltimore, losing 3-2 to the visiting Guardians in the rubber match of a three-game weekend set at Camden Yards.
Dean Kremer made his return to the mound after an oblique injury suffered in warm-ups back in April cost him nearly two months. Overall, it was a fine outing that likely earns him at least one more turn in the rotation. The Orioles are strapped for starting pitching, and Kremer showed some moxie in rebounding from a rough first inning.
The only blemish on his afternoon was the opening frame. He got knocked around a little bit, issuing a walk and three hits, including a three-run homer off the bat of Andres Gimenez to give the Guardians an early 3-0 lead.
But credit to Kremer for sorting things out from there. He allowed just two more hits and didn’t let a runner past first base. His line of 4.1 innings, five hits, three runs, one walk, three strikeouts, and one home run is not particularly sexy, but the context makes it much more intriguing. At a point when half of Brandon Hyde’s starting options are hobbled one way or another, Kremer seems like an obvious choice to go again in five days.
Not to mention, the “stuff” looked plenty good. Kremer’s fastball averaged 93.5 mph and topped out at 95.8 mph, according to Statcast. That pitch sat at 92.6 mph in 2021 and 92.8 mph in 2020. An uptick in velocity is usually something to get excited about!
Cleveland’s starter Zach Plesac was better, though. He lasted six innings while serving up just two runs on four hits and eight strikeouts without a walk. Like Kremer, only one mistake came back to haunt him. That was an opposite field, two-run dong from Ryan Mountcastle, scoring Trey Mancini, who had led off the fourth inning being hit by a pitch.
The O’s should have done more against Plesac. In the fifth inning, Rougned Odor opened with a single and moved over to third on a Ryan McKenna double to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. But they could go no farther as Jorge Mateo and Austin Hays both struck out and Mancini lined out to end the threat.
Once Plesac was removed prior to the seventh, Baltimore threatened again. Again it was Odor and McKenna, both of whom reached on a walk. But not even a Cedric Mullins pinch hit appearance could squeeze out a run. He and Hays popped out to conclude the inning.
That was all she wrote for threats from the Orioles offense. The Guardians bullpen did allow a few base runners, but it never really felt like a run was imminent in the late innings.
On the positive side of the ledger, it was a good day for the Orioles bullpen. Logan Gillaspie, Nick Vespi, Bryan Baker, and Cionel Pérez combined for 4.2 scoreless frames to keep things close. But in the end, the offense simply couldn’t overcome the one-run deficit.
Monday is an off day for the O’s before they host a quick two-game set with the Cubs in the middle of the week. Kyle Bradish heads back to the hill in game one. First pitch is 7:05 from Camden Yards.