Dean Kremer takes positive steps (O’s lose to Red Sox)

It could have been his last spring training game of 2021. Or right-hander Dean Kremer could pitch one last time in the spring finale on Monday. That would be his fifth day to pitch.

Tonight he threw one pitch that cost him, but otherwise had a solid outing against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Kremer went 4 2/3 innings and that is the longest outing by an Orioles starter this spring. He allowed five hits and two runs with one walk and five strikeouts. His ERA is 6.32 through five spring outings. He’s thrown 15 2/3 innings, allowing 17 hits and 11 runs.

He knows there is plenty of rotation competition and much still to be decided at camp, but is trying not to size up just how that may be playing out.

Kremer-Throws-Orange-ST-Sidebar.jpg“I try not to think about that kind of stuff,” Kremer said via Zoom after his outing. “More of keep my head down and kind of do my own work. And if it works, great. If it doesn’t, it means I just have to work that much harder.

“It definitely had its up and downs. For the most part I think I’ve accomplished what I came here to do. And just get a better feel for my stuff and try to make a spot on this roster.”

Kremer had to work a bit to put up a zero in the last of the first at JetBlue Park. Alex Verdugo reached on an infield single on the 10th pitch of an at-bat with one out and advanced to third when Hunter Renfroe dumped a flare single into short right. Kremer then struck out Xander Bogaerts swinging at what looked like a cutter on the Boston telecast. He also struck out Rafael Devers to strand two in a 24-pitch inning.

With one out in the Boston second, Franchy Cordero singled and reached second on a balk. But Kremer stranded him, too, with a strikeout and groundout. Boston went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the first two innings.

Kremer felt he took some positive steps and was able to take some on his between-starts work in side sessions out to the field.

“It was good early, then wavered, then got back to good,” he said. “So definitely finished on a high note and I like where I’m at.

“Slowly, but surely, starting to execute more and more and getting a better feel for all my stuff.”

Renfroe’s two-run homer in the third gave Boston a 2-0 lead. Enrique Hern├índez walked to start the inning, and one out later, Renfroe lined one over the right field wall for his third spring home run.

Kremer said having to pitch out of early trouble was a plus.

“If you’re a guy that is cruising through spring training with no real challenge, then when you do get that challenge during the season, it can be a step backwards for you,” he said. “I’m glad I’m competing and trying to run through it.”

The Orioles didn’t get much going early on against Boston right-hander Nate Eovaldi. Yolmer S├ínchez led off the game with a single but was erased on a double play. Two O’s fanned in a 1-2-3 second. Yusniel Diaz led off the third with a walk and advanced to second, but was stranded there.

Eovaldi pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Orioles were still down 2-0 and held to four hits into the top of the eighth.

O’s lefty pitching prospect Zac Lowther came on in relief in the sixth with no outs and the bases loaded. And he escaped that jam without allowing a run. Lowther got a lineout and induced Michael Chavis to bounced into an inning-ending double play. The Sox had loaded the bases with a walk and two singles versus righty Eric Hanhold. Lowther then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning for two scoreless innings tonight.

O’s fall at Fenway south: For the third time this spring, the Orioles were shut out. They lost 2-0 to Boston in Fort Myers. The Orioles were held to four singles in 29 at-bats.

Lowther had quite the outing, however. After getting out of the bases-loaded jam, he pitched two more perfect innings. So three scoreless frames for Lowther with no walks and one strikeout on 34 pitches. Boston went 0-for-8 against him.

The Orioles are 8-14-1 overall, 2-9-1 on the road and 1-1 against Boston.

The O’s host the Pirates in Sarasota on Thursday night. The game will be televised live on MASN at 6 p.m. Lefty Keegan Akin will get the start.

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