Dean Kremer took to the mound this evening at Rogers Centre in Toronto, hoping to notch a series win for the Baltimore Orioles. First time through the order, Kremer struggled a bit. It he settled down quickly, and turned in perhaps the best start of his career. Kremer’s line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
Kremer allowed a base runner in the last of the first, which was followed by a two-run homer by Guerrero. However as I said above, Kremer settled in very nicely. Following the home run, that is. Very few Toronto hitters even reached base, much less threatened to score.
Toronto’s starter Manoah started hanging pitches a bit in the fifth inning. His pitch count was slightly high, and his fastball started staying up in the zone. Speaking for myself, it seemed to me that it would have been an opportune moment to at least get someone working in the bullpen. But Manoah was allowed to pitch on.
Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman smacked back-to-back solo homers in that inning. That tied the game at two. Again, one might have thought that Toronto would have changed pitchers. But apparently not.
Ramon Urias’ bloop RBI-single in the sixth eventually sent Manoah to the showers. That gave the Orioles the lead, never to be surrendered. Ryan McKenna would add an additional RBI-single of his own, giving the O’s a 4-2 lead.
The Orioles turned to the bullpen after Kremer was lifted (after the seventh), and the pen was just as lights out. Dillon Tate and Felix Bautista were almost not hittable. The O’s have a good thing going in that they can turn it over to perhaps the best bullpen in baseball, and preserve the lead.
I would argue that Toronto manager John Schneider failed his starting pitcher. And by extension his team. Manoah was tiring in the fifth, and Schneider waited until the Orioles had the lead to lift him. You have to preserve the lead as a manager, and put your team in a spot to win. And the Birds took full advantage.
The series concludes tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Austin Voth gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Ross Stripling. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.