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Orioles’ Dean Kremer to make playoff debut with family in Israel on mind

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Israeli-American pitcher Dean Kremer will make his first career playoff start for the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night while thinking about family members in Israel, where war has been declared following a deadly incursion by militant group Hamas.

Kremer said he has no hesitation about pitching Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers, a game the Orioles have to win to extend their season.

“I still want to pitch, but, I mean, it’s going to be in the back of my head,” Kremer said Monday.

The 27-year-old right-hander has dual citizenship, and much of his extended family lives in Israel. While not going into any details, Kremer said they were OK right now.

Though he was born and raised in Stockton, California, Kremer is the son of Israeli parents and identifies strongly as Israeli himself. He spends time each year in the Jewish state and is fluent in Hebrew.

Kremer found out Sunday he would be starting Game 3. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde checked in with the pitcher during a conversation at breakfast Monday.

Dean Kremer is 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts this season, which included both of the Orioles’ clinching games.
Dean Kremer is 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts this season, which included both of the Orioles’ clinching games. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

“Gave him my support and sympathies for him and his family that’s involved, and he seemed OK,” Hyde said. “Obviously, he’s very disturbed and there’s a lot of things going on. But I didn’t sense that it was going to affect … I think he’s really looking forward to pitching tomorrow so I didn’t think it was going to affect him.”

Along with the manager, Kremer said just about everybody in the Orioles clubhouse has checked on him at some point over the last couple of days.

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

Kremer is 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 starts this season, which included both of the Orioles’ clinching games. He allowed one run in five-plus innings of an 11-inning win over Tampa Bay on 17 September that secured a playoff spot, and tossed five and one third scoreless innings on 28 September against Boston in the team’s 100th win – clinching the AL East title.

Kremer was the first Israeli ever taken in baseball’s amateur draft when the San Diego Padres got him in the 38th round in 2015. Kremer stayed in school then, but signed the following year after the Dodgers got him in the 14th round. He went to Baltimore as part of the 2018 trade that sent Manny Machado to Los Angeles, and made his big league debut with the Orioles in 2020.