- The score: Orioles trail Rangers 3-0 in the second inning
- The setup: Nathaniel Lowe kicked off the inning with a 15-pitch at bat against Dean Kremer. Kremer failed to put hitters away, and the Rangers extended their lead to three with a two-run double by Mitch Garver. Adolis Garcia stepped in with two out and two runners in scoring position.
- The moment: Kremer came within one strike of ending the inning, but the 27-year-old failed once again to put a hitter away. Adolis Garcia launched a 94-MPH fastball 418 feet from home plate.
- Before: 17% Orioles Win Probability via Baseball Savant
- After: 5% Orioles Win Probability via Baseball Savant
- The shift: -12%
- The runner up: Mitch Garver two-run double. Garver’s two run double actually caused a bigger drop in the win probability (-15%), but anyone watching the game knew the Birds were done when Garcia left the yard.
Brandon Hyde had a choice to make with John Means unavailable in the ALDS. Hyde tabbed Kremer as his Game 3 starter with the season on the line. Unfortunately, Kremer failed to meet the moment.
Kremer served up a solo homer to Corey Seager in the bottom of the first. The early deficit put the Birds on alert, but Kremer’s struggles were just getting started. Nathaniel Lowe exposed Kremer’s inability to put away hitters with a 15-pitch at bat, and Mitch Garver provided Texas a three-run advantage with a double down the left field line.
Still, the game did not feel completely out of reach. The Orioles had almost every pitcher available in the bullpen, and the bats looked better in Game 2. A three-run deficit felt deflating but hardly insurmountable. Kremer simply needed to get out of the inning.
Kremer fell behind 1-0 before battling back with a cutter and a four-seam fastball. He needed one more strike to end the inning. He didn’t get it.
Kremer grooved a 94-MPH fastball right down the plate. Garcia swung like he knew the pitch was coming. Once he swung, he knew the ball was gone. The Texas slugger immediately entered a slow, swagger-filled strut toward first base.
The Rangers knocked the Orioles starter out of the game in the second inning for the second consecutive game. Both pitchers performed well below their capabilities, and a potent Texas lineup made them pay. That being said, the series exposed Baltimore’s true lack of talent on the mound. The Orioles started a rookie and Dean Kremer in a pair of crucial playoff games, and the duo looked severely overmatched by Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi.
Gibson eventually entered the game in relief. Baltimore elected to sign Gibson to a one-year, $10 million deal instead of signing a pitcher like Eovaldi for two-years and $34 million.
Garcia’s blast continued an explosive offensive trend for the Rangers. With the benefit of hindsight, the Orioles really needed to win the low-scoring Game 1. Garcia, Seager and the Rangers put Baltimore’s bats behind the eight ball before their second turn through the lineup in the final two contests.