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Orioles’ Dean Kremer to start Game 3 of ALDS with family in Israel ‘in back of my head’ – Boston Herald

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As Orioles pitcher Dean Kremer steps on the mound for the biggest game of his life Tuesday night, he said the safety of his family in Israel will be “in the back of my head.”

Kremer, a dual Israeli American citizen, said his family is “OK” as the war between Israel and Hamas extended to a third day Monday with a death toll of more than 1,500.

“Obviously, it’s a very sad situation,” Kremer said during a news conference Monday afternoon after he was announced as Baltimore’s starter for Game 3 of the American League Division Series. “A lot of things are being brought to light. But everybody’s OK right now.”

After an attack by Hamas, a militant group that governs the Gaza Strip in Palestine, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched airstrikes on the enclave that’s home to more than 2.1 million people. Hamas on Monday responded to the retaliatory strikes by threatening to kill captured Israelis.

Kremer, 27, was born in California but lives in Israel for two months every year. When the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in 2016, he became the first Israeli drafted and signed by an MLB team. He pitched for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic in 2017 and 2023.

When manager Brandon Hyde told Kremer on Sunday he would be starting Game 3, Kremer said he didn’t second-guess whether he would be able to pitch in the win-or-go-home contest, as Baltimore trails the Texas Rangers 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

“Is there a hesitation? No. I still want to pitch,” Kremer said. “But, I mean, it’s going to be in the back of my head.”

Hyde said he had a conversation with Kremer at breakfast Monday morning to check how he and his family were doing.

“Gave him my support and sympathies for him and his family that’s involved, and he seemed OK,” Hyde said. “He seemed like he was ready to pitch. He seemed like he felt comfortable with where his family situation was at with the whole thing.

“Obviously, he’s very disturbed and there’s a lot of things going on. But I think he’s really looking forward to pitching tomorrow, so I didn’t think it was going to affect him.”

In addition to Hyde, Kremer said almost every teammate of his also checked on him at some point over the past two days.

“I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

On the field, his teammates also believe in Kremer’s ability to step up Tuesday, as shortstop Gunnar Henderson said Kremer “competes his butt off each and every outing.”

“I mean, all year he’s been that guy that’s helped guide us through those little swing starts that we needed him to come through,” Henderson said. “And being able to have him on the mound tomorrow is going to be great. I’m really looking forward to playing behind him.”

Kremer started perhaps the two most important games of the Orioles’ regular season, and he delivered both times. He’ll likely need to again to keep Baltimore’s season going.

The Orioles dropped the first two games of the ALDS, as Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez weren’t their second-half selves in their postseason debuts. Bradish didn’t make it through five innings Saturday after a dicey fourth inning, and Rodriguez was hammered for five runs in the second inning of his short start Sunday.

Tuesday, it’ll be up to Kremer, who went 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in the regular season, to help extend their season. He’ll pitch opposite Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who posted a 12-5 record with a 3.63 ERA in the regular season. In his career, Eovaldi, a 33-year-old veteran, has a 2.90 ERA in 49 2/3 playoff innings.

After an up-and-down first half, Kremer reestablished himself in the second half. In his final 15 starts of the regular season, the right-hander posted a 3.09 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. Home runs were a problem in his first half, as he surrendered 19 in his first 17 starts, but he gave up just eight over his final 15 outings.

The Orioles won 24 of the 32 games Kremer started this season, and none were bigger than his two solid starts in the club’s clinch victories. In mid-September, he allowed one run in five innings in the Orioles’ playoff-clinching win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Eleven days later, he delivered 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Baltimore’s AL East title-clinching victory over the Boston Red Sox.

During the second clinch celebration, Kremer’s teammates said he is a “big-game” pitcher.

“No moment is too big for him,” Bradish said. “He knew what was on the line, and he just showed up.”

“It’s who he is,” said left-hander John Means, who isn’t able to start either game in Arlington because of elbow soreness that kept him off the ALDS roster. “He pitches in big moments, and it’s his personality.”

Around the horn

  • Hyde did not name a Game 4 starter, though it could be veteran Kyle Gibson should the Orioles win Game 3 at Globe Life Field.
  • Closer Félix Bautista underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction Monday at Trinity Park Surgery Center in Arlington by surgeon Dr. Keith Meister. The right-hander is expected to miss the 2024 season but return for spring training in 2025.

Associated Press contributed to this article.

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