It’s fair to say that what Minnesota Twins rookie right fielder Max Kepler is doing is a bit surprising. Kepler had one home run in 110 minor league at-bats this season. He had nine in 431 at-bats in the minors last season, and was more prominent on the bases (19 steals). He never hit more than 10 home runs in a minor-league season.
But since being recalled to the Twins, his power has been the most prominent part of his game. His fourth home run in two games gave him 15 home runs this season and helped the Twins again slug their way past the Indians.
Kepler is the fourth player to hit four home runs in a two-game span since the Twins moved to Minnesota in 1961. The others are Don Mincher and Harmon Killebrew in 1963, and Kirby Puckett in 1987. Killebrew and Puckett, of course, are Hall of Famers.
Kepler is hitting .381 (16-for-42) with six home runs, 12 RBIs and 14 runs scored in his past 12 games. His 12 home runs in 99 at-bats since July 1 are the most in the majors. He had three home runs in 36 games before that. Each of his past four home runs have gone over 400 feet (only 2 of his first 11 were longer than 400 feet)
Kepler had three walks to go along with his home run, but his teammates were able to do significant damage as well. The Twins had nine extra-base hits after netting 10 in Monday’s win. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, it’s the first time in franchise history that they’ve had at least nine extra-base hits in consecutive games.
The Twins are now 7-4 against the Indians this season. They are 6-21 against their other AL Central rivals -- White Sox, Tigers and Royals.
The Indians seem to have been hit with a major issue after designating ever-popular infielder Juan Uribe for assignment. In the two games since, they’ve allowed 22 runs and had two of their best pitchers (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) combine to allow 14 of runs. They’ve also lost Salazar to an elbow injury.
Uribe has made the postseason six times, including each of the past three seasons, and won two World Series rings.