27-year-old Dean Kremer has been putting in both impressive and consistent performances for the Orioles this season. The right-hander, especially over the past two months, has made the case for being called the most in-form starting pitcher for the Birds. Every trip he takes to the mound usually means trouble for opposing batters and victory for Baltimore.
Dean Kremer is having a quietly good season in the Orioles rotation
A rocky April
Five out of the righties' first six starts did not help to instill the confidence Camden Yards goers were looking for. Kremer failed to make it past five innings in any of those appearances and gave up four or five runs in all of them. His only solid outing was six and two-thirds innings of shutout ball against an unimpressive Washington Nationals team.
An improved May
Kremer's outings in May gave the Orioles much better outcomes than in the first month. Four out of his five starts resulted in wins. The highlight of the month was an impressive six-inning outing against the AL East leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays, in which the right-hander only allowed four hits and did not give up a run. For the month, he averaged less than two earned runs an outing.
The June that almost broke Kremer
Riding his momentum from May into June, Kremer fared well in his first appearance on the mound. Six innings and only two earned runs against the San Francisco Giants made the righty look set to complete the rest of the year without any hiccups. That changed when the Brewers took him for six runs in his next start, and four starts later the Minnesota Twins smacked home seven runs. During June, the 27-year-old allowed nearly one home run every three innings.
Turning the corner in July
The Orioles saw a major stretch of growth and contribution from Kremer in July. All five of his starts resulted in Orioles' wins, and only a five-run game against the Los Angeles Dodgers showed signs of the right-hander pitching like he was in June. Batters hit fewer home runs against him and in his start against the Yankees he struck out ten; his highest tally in any game this season thus far.
Solidified in August
Kremer's August showed that he has become the pitcher the Birds need him to be in October. Five starts of giving up less than four runs each outing accompanied four wins for the Orioles and only one loss. The righties only gave up one extra-base hit per game and brought his ERA down to 4.2. He trails only Kyle Bradish in both wins and strikeouts, while his 12-5 record as of Wednesday is tied for eighth best in the Majors.
The biggest factor in the 27-year-old's crusade to the near top of the starting rotation was how he never gave up on himself despite multiple poor outings and stretches of the season when batters found it very easy to hit against him. Instead, Kremer developed his pitching arsenal, and opposing teams have suffered as a result. The hot-streaking Orioles, though, have another piece to a potential World Series-threatening team thanks to their matured right-handed wonder.