O's game blog: Dean Kremer faces the Dodgers in series finale

In the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, with pick No. 431 overall, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He would pitch on their watch until July 18, 2018, when he and four other players were traded by the Dodgers to the Orioles for Manny Machado.

Today, for the first time in his career, Kremer will face the team that drafted him. And he will try to pitch the Orioles to a win in this series to avoid a three-game sweep after Los Angeles won 6-4 Monday night and 10-3 last night.

Kremer signed with the Dodgers for a bonus of $147,500 and reported to their rookie league team to make his pro debut on July 3, 2016 for the Ogden Raptors. He was pitching in High-A ball for most of the 2018 season and had just moved to Double-A, where he had made one start, when he was traded to the Orioles. They assigned him to Double-A Bowie, where he went 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA in eight starts to finish up the 2018 season.

Kremer (10-4, 4.59 ERA) got off to a slow start this season. His ERA was 6.67 at the end of April and 5.80 after his first start in May. But he has pitched better lately and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his past six starts. In his first outing out of the All-Star break, on Friday against Miami, he gave up two hits and one run over six innings on 97 pitches.

The Orioles are 13-6 in his 19 starts, winning five of his last six games.

In nine career interleague outings, Kremer is 7-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 50 1/3 innings. He has allowed a .258 batting average and .723 OPS in those games.

With Tampa Bay losing the last two nights to Texas, the Orioles (57-37) remain one game behind the Rays for the American League East lead. So for the Birds, two straight losses have followed an eight-game win streak in which they outscored opponents 60-20.

Over their last 31 games the Orioles are 18-13 and Tampa Bay is 13-18. The clubs begin a four-game showdown Thursday night at Tropicana Field. 

Today the Orioles try to avoid being swept for the first time since they lost three at Detroit from May 13-15, 2022. The last time the Orioles were swept at home was from Aug. 27-29, 2021 against Tampa Bay.

The Orioles are 29-20 at home and 13-12 versus National League teams. They have lost this series and are 18-10-3 in series play for the year, and 9-6-1 in home series.

Los Angeles (55-39), the NL West leader by 1 1/2 games over San Francisco and 2 1/2 over Arizona, has won eight of its past nine and is 16-6 the last 22 games. The Dodgers are 7-1 the last eight series and 4-4 versus AL East teams.

Los Angeles outfielder Jason Heyward slugged his ninth home run of the season last night, a three-run shot in the second inning. The ball traveled 414 feet, his furthest of the season, and his three RBIs tied a season high (he's had three RBIs in a game three times, the last on June 24 against Houston). Heyward ended a 16-game homerless stretch.

First baseman Freddie Freeman singled in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the major leagues. He is 6-for-9 this series with two doubles, a triple and an RBI. He is batting .338/.420/.597 with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs, 16 runs scored, 17 RBIs, nine walks and two stolen bases during the 19-game on-base stretch.

Lefty Julio Urías (7-5, 4.35 ERA) is on the mound today for the visitors, making his 14th start. They are 8-5 in the first 13.

Urías has been a Cy Young contender the last two years, finishing seventh in the NL vote in 2021 when he went 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA. He was the third-place vote-getter last year, when he was 17-7 with a 2.16 ERA.

He pitched great versus the Mets Friday to start the second half, allowing one hit and no runs over six innings. And he has allowed two runs in 12 innings his past two games after allowing 11 runs in six frames the previous two.

Urías is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 18 career interleague games. In two games, one start, against Baltimore, he has a 10.38 ERA, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings. He last pitched against the Orioles on Sept. 12, 2019, tossing one shutout relief inning and striking out two.

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