July 14, 2019

Game 2 goes to the Twins (and Max Kepler)

Before Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer settled in and struck out 11 Twins on Saturday, he first had to contend with Twins right fielder, Max Kepler.

Kepler hit two home runs off him, Jake Cave added a third and, despite the strikeouts, the Twins added a few more runs late to top the Tribe, 6-2. The Twins have won two of three games in the series and now go for the sweep on Sunday. The win increased their lead in the division to 7.5 games.

Kepler stole the show on Saturday. Following the second blast, Kepler had hit five home runs in his last five at bats against Bauer. He hit three off Bauer on June 6.

Kepler in his own words:

“I just try and time a guy and stay as balanced as possible,” Kepler told MLB.com. “And sometimes, you know you’re off-balance. People make mistakes and the best hitters can simplify. Like [Mike] Trout, he’s always [balanced], it looks like. I was balanced today.”

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli on Kepler:

“It’s unfathomable that it is happening in front of our eyes,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told MLB.com. “I was going to say that I don’t think any of us had seen anything like it. Come to find out, nobody has seen anything like it.”

Kepler and Cave drove in five of the Twins’ six runs. Marwin Gonzalez added another RBI on a sacrifice fly.

The win went to Jake Odorizzi. He allowed one run over five-plus innings and improved to 11-4. Jose Berrios gets the ball Sunday.

Extra innings…

-The Twins are now back to being 25 games over .500 at 58-33. The Indians are now 50-40.

-Byron Buxton made another spectacular diving catch on Saturday, but it looks like the dive may have cost him a few days away from the game after his head appeared to hit the ground.

-After Bauer exited the game, the Twins jumped all over Indians closer Tyler Clippard with three hits and two runs. They also scored a run on Clippard in Friday’s game. Will Indians manager, Terry Francona, go with Clippard on Sunday? And how will they pitch Kepler? Can we expect a brush back pitch to start the game?


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.