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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Max Kepler Kept Calling Trevor Bauer's Bluff

Illustration for article titled Max Kepler Kept Calling Trevor Bauers Bluff

Twins outfielder Max Kepler was fantastic in Thursday’s 5-4 win over Cleveland as he went 4-for-4 with three home runs and a walk. There are two ways to look at this performance, and they’re not mutually exclusive. You could say that Kepler had a hell of a night, and you could say that opposing pitcher Trevor Bauer was insistent on serving up meatballs like he worked at a trattoria.

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Kepler, the Twins’ leadoff hitter, smacked his first homer two pitches into the game after Bauer threw a changeup on an 0-1 count. Fine, that’s a learning experience, and the damage was only one run. So, what did Bauer do in the second meeting? He decided to throw a slider in pretty much that same spot. Again, gone.

Kepler earned a walk on five pitches in the fifth, but he was back in the seventh to get one more at-bat against the Indians’ starter. As uncomfortable as it may be, let’s get in the mind of Trevor Bauer for a minute. He’s thrown a changeup and a slider down in the zone, and both of those ended up as taters. What if, he must have said to himself, I ignored the pattern and just threw a fastball there. Surely Max Kepler can’t hit a third homer in that spot—ah.

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Here is proof of this stubborn, self-undermining behavior (the blue circles are dinger pitches):

Illustration for article titled Max Kepler Kept Calling Trevor Bauers Bluff

At a certain point, persistence becomes stubbornness. Way to suck, Trevor!

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