A promising September for Orioles rookie Dean Kremer ended on a sour note as the young starting pitcher didn’t survive the third inning in a 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
“I just think he had a tough time putting guys away tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Fastball [velocity] was a little bit down, I thought they were on a lot of his pitches, missed in the middle a few times but I just thought it didn’t go smooth there early.”
Kremer, who debuted with three at-times dominant starts this month, was hit early and often Wednesday as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Kevin Plawecki drove in runs in a two-run first inning. He settled in for a scoreless second, but was drummed for six runs in a third inning that dragged on and never got better.
“I think I just left too many balls deeper in counts center cut, and they got hit,” Kremer said.
With one run in, Kremer got a visit from pitching coach Doug Brocail and assistant athletic trainer Patrick Wesley to look at what appeared to be an issue with a finger on Kremer’s pitching hand. Kremer said it was a cut under his fingernail that didn’t affect him. He stayed in the game, allowed two more runs and bequeathed two runners to reliever Branden Kline on his way out.
Kline allowed those two runs and one of his own to score on a bases-loaded double by Rafael Devers.
Kremer, who entered with a 1.69 ERA over his first three starts, now enters the offseason with a 4.82 ERA.
“I’m pretty happy as a whole,” Kremer said of his four starts this month. “Three of them went well and tonight was what it was, and I just couldn’t feel like I could get anything by anyone. I’m happy with how it went. I got to dip my toe in the water and I’m looking forward to next year.”
The Orioles (23-33) enter the series finale Thursday in Boston just one game ahead of the Red Sox (22-34) for fourth place in the American League East, which was clinched Wednesday night by the Tampa Bay Rays (37-20).
Zimmermann zooms through four
Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann rebounded from a tough major league debut last week to pitch four innings of one-run relief to finish the game for the Orioles.
Zimmermann, an Ellicott City native, struck out five against one walk with two hits allowed to lower his ERA to 7.71.
“I thought we had some positives tonight,” Hyde said. “I thought Bruce Zimmermann was one of them. He really threw the ball well, I really liked the breaking ball and he kept guys off balance. Not a whole lot of hard contact. I thought we played some nice defense behind him. I thought Zimm really picked us up.”
Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays led the Orioles offense with three hits apiece Wednesday, with Hays' home run in the seventh inning producing their only run. Pat Valaika had three hits as well.
Hays has hit .371 since coming off the injured list with a rib injury, and his home run was his second in five games.
“I thought we did some positive things offensively with Ryan and Austin, some of our young guys, swinging the bat really well tonight,” Hyde said.
Kline was one of five players on the taxi squad for the Orioles for this week’s road trip, but was added to the roster for Evan Phillips, who went on the injured list with right elbow inflammation.
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Phillips left Tuesday’s game with elbow soreness, though Hyde said before the game that they hoped the team got him out of the game before the issue was made worse.