The Orioles needed a starter to fill out their rotation before the break, maybe a one-and-done but with the possibility of a longer stay. Anyone who can get into and through the middle innings has a shot to take the ball every fifth day. Maybe have a sandwich named after him.
The easy move would have been to try Zac Lowther again, since he’s on the active roster and one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. But the Orioles also could have recalled Dean Kremer, who was scheduled to start that same night in Norfolk.
It would have been a reversal of field not seen since Marcus Allen in Super Bowl XVIII.
Manager Brandon Hyde stated on the day that the Orioles optioned Kremer again, back on June 25, that the right-hander would be down “for an extended period.” They weren’t going back and forth with another prospect. He had to regain the command that kept flickering and turning off.
The 0-7 record, 7.25 ERA and 1.611 WHIP, the 4.3 walks per nine innings, the disastrous final start in Buffalo - six runs allowed, five walks, one batter retired - shouldn’t define him. The Orioles expect better and know he will become better, but only if his latest reset lasts longer than the others.
Kremer was charged with four earned runs and seven total last night in only 1 2/3 innings, with five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. In his first start after the Blue Jays game, he surrendered four earned runs and six total with seven hits, two walks and nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
It wouldn’t have mattered if Kremer shut out Charlotte. The Orioles weren’t going to overreact and shove him back into the rotation as if one successful outing fixed him.
That benefits no one.
“I’d like to see Kremer continue to develop in Triple-A,” Hyde said yesterday, “and then possibly hopefully have him come back here at some point.”
The Orioles will figure out what to do with their rotation after the break, when John Means completes his rehab assignment and rejoins it. They didn’t intend to start Adam Plutko, Travis Lakins Sr., Thomas Eshelman and Watkins. It just happened due to circumstances, including Means and Bruce Zimmermann going on the injured list.
Does Hyde step back and appreciate what it means to these players?
“Debuts are always extremely special,” Hyde said. “You want them to enjoy it. There’s a lot of anxiety for them. I know some of our debuts have had a lot of family here, which I think is great, or on the road.
“When I replay the game honestly and I’m watching on the telecast and I see their family in the stands is when it hits me a little more of what it means to them, all the people that helped get them here. It’s a very special moment for them.”
* Ramón Urías made another start at shortstop last night, seizing an opportunity created by Freddy Galvis’ strained right quadriceps muscle. Urías singled in the fourth and seventh innings, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, a streak that dates to May.
Urías is 18-for-42 (.429) during that stretch. He was slashing .280/.366/.451 with five doubles and three home runs in 93 plate appearances this season before last night. He left the ballpark with his average at .291 and OPS at .825.
“He went down to Triple-A and I thought they did some really nice things there with getting the barrel out front a little bit more on fastballs,” Hyde said. “When he was here before, he was really a lot of middle and the other way, which was great, but sometimes they would ride fastballs up, ride fastballs in on him. Had a tough time kind of getting there. I know that was a point of emphasis when he went down.
“He made some adjustments and you see him getting the barrel out and driving some balls to the left side and taking some really good at-bats right now.”
Before last night, Urías had posted a .381 average (16-for-42) with runners on base, .350 (7-for-20) with runners in scoring position and .308 (4-for-13) with RISP and two outs.
* Ever wonder what happened to former Orioles left-hander Arthur Rhodes, besides the night that I spotted him at Seacrets in Ocean City and posed for a photo with him?
Wonder no more.
Rhodes has been hired as pitching coach with the Cleburne (Texas) Railroaders in the independent American Association.
Rhodes retired after appearing in 19 games with the 2011 Cardinals, who signed him in August following his release by the Rangers. He spent 20 seasons in the majors after the Orioles drafted him in the second round in 1988 out of La Vega High School in Waco, Texas.
The major league debut came in 1991. His conversion to reliever began four years later.
Rhodes was 43-36 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.432 WHIP in nine seasons with the Orioles. He appeared in 238 games before signing with the Mariners as a free agent in December 1999.
The trade between the Rangers and Cardinals put Rhodes in a unique position. The teams met in the World Series and Rhodes was eligible to receive a ring no matter who won.
The Cardinals did in seven games.