ARLINGTON, Texas — With the Orioles season on the line, Dean Kremer will start on Tuesday in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
It will be the most important start of his career. After losing the first two games of the best-of-5 series, Baltimore must beat Texas to avoid elimination.
This big moment, though, comes at a time when his family back home in Israel is grappling with the ongoing and unprecedented attacks from Hamas, the militant group that controls the neighboring Gaza Strip. Israel declared war on Hamas on Sunday.
“My family’s OK,” Kremer said. “I mean, obviously, it’s a very sad situation. A lot of things are being brought to light. But everybody’s OK right now.”
Kremer has dual Israeli-American citizenship and most of his family lives in Israel. The rockets have struck Tel Aviv, where his grandparents and other extended family members reside. His brother, Ron, works in an administrator role for the Israeli Army.
Manager Brandon Hyde informed Kremer on Sunday that he was getting the Game 3 start, but the skipper checked in with his pitcher at breakfast on Monday morning to express his sympathies and to make sure Kremer is still up to the task, given the emotional toll of the situation happening overseas.
Kremer told Hyde that he appreciated him and his teammates checking in. It will be on the back of his mind, Kremer said, but he had no hesitation about taking the mound on Tuesday.
“He seemed like he felt comfortable with where his family situation was at with the whole thing,” Hyde said. “He’s very disturbed and there’s a lot of things going on. But I didn’t sense that it was going to affect him.”
The Orioles lost the first two games of the ALDS behind disappointing performances from their starting pitchers. On Saturday, Kyle Bradish, who has been the team’s top pitcher all season, wasn’t as sharp as he was during the regular season, giving up two runs in 4 2/3 innings. In Game 2 on Sunday, rookie Grayson Rodriguez couldn’t get out of the second inning after struggling with command.
Kremer had a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts this season, tossing a career-high 172.2 innings. He pitched in the two most important games of the regular season, starting the day the Orioles’ clinched their postseason spot and when they won the American League East.
“He’s pitched his best in two of the biggest games of the regular season,” Hyde said. “I think he’s going to pitch with a ton of confidence.”
All options will be on the table for the Orioles on Tuesday, Hyde said, including the possibility of Kyle Gibson coming in as a relief option.
“All hands will be on deck tomorrow,” Hyde said. “Hopefully Dean can give us some innings and give us a nice start.”