Twins Daily: MLB realignment would reignite the best rivalry of yesteryear

Max Kepler vs. Trevor Bauer never gets old.
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Max Kepler

Max Kepler had a breakout season in 2019 with 36 home runs, a 16.6 strikeout percentage, and the highest WAR of any Twin. One of the most famous narratives that surrounded Kepler was his dominance over former division rival, Trevor Bauer. 

Kepler’s ownership over Bauer began on June 3rd, when he homered in three straight at-bats against Bauer. He continued his streak on July 13th, when he also homered off Bauer two more times. This helped Kepler earn a spot in the record books next to Carlos Delgado and Frank Howard as the only three players to homer in five straight at-bats since 1961.

On April 1st, Bauer released a 34-minute Youtube video breaking down every single one of Kepler’s five home runs in detail.

Bauer’s breakdown was widely requested among Twins fans and broke down every mechanic of every pitch thrown in these five at-bats in addition to every at-bat Kepler had against Bauer in 2019. Bauer candidly discusses the at-bats leading up to the infamous home run streak, physical adjustments that Kepler had made during the offseason, and how Bauer was able to finally end their duel.

Twins fans were left heartbroken when Bauer moved across Ohio to the Cincinnati Reds after the trade deadline. The Twins were not scheduled to play the Reds in 2020, which left a desire from fans for closure between the two. While it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Bauer signs a deal with the Twins after Odorizzi’s departure, fans were not expecting a reunion to come so soon.

Yesterday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today announced that Major League Baseball Officials are cautiously optimistic that baseball will start in late June and no later than July 2nd. While fans feared that the season would be cut in half or canceled altogether, executives state that teams will play at least 100 games. However, MLB would eliminate the traditional American and National Leagues and combine each division based on their geographical location.

The Central division would consist of the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, and of course, the Cincinnati Reds.

While most fans on social media are ecstatic about the possibility of the Dodgers and Astros playing in the Western division together, Twins fans have the frequent reunions between Kepler and Bauer to look forward to. While it's not known what the schedules and match ups look like right now, all signs are pointing to future at-bats and more home runs on the horizon.

Maybe in 2021, Bauer will personally bring on Kepler in his next video to discuss the next record broken by Kepler. Until then, enjoy Bauer’s breakdown and these recaps of Kepler’s five home runs.

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This story first appeared at Twins Daily and was re-shared through a collaboration with Bring Me The News. 

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