Tim Anderson finally got Trevor Bauer.
Coming into Saturday night's game in Cincinnati, Anderson had picked up five hits in 29 trips to the plate against Bauer in their careers, a less than impressive .185 batting average that included only one extra-base hit and no homers.
But Saturday, Anderson uncorked the first of two home runs on the evening off Bauer. And he took great joy in finally getting to a guy who is probably the front runner for the NL Cy Young Award this season.
"I was so happy to finally get him," Anderson said after the game.
Anderson was well aware of his history against the Reds' righty. But there's a little more to the story.
These are not only two of the game's best players, but they're two of the game's bigger personalities, both very active on social media and both very willing to speak on any number of issues, baseball-related and otherwise.
Anyway, the two have tangoed off the field, as well, on Twitter. Last year, after Anderson grabbed the national spotlight with his bat-flip heard 'round the world against the Kansas City Royals, Bauer, then throwing for the division-rival Cleveland Indians, took notice — and made a request of the future batting champ.
Anderson wasn't quite ready to oblige.
Well, Anderson finally got that home run. But Bauer got his wish, too. No bat flip from TA on Saturday night.
And after the game, he had a joke for the guy who took him deep.
Anderson's home run wasn't without a celebration of sorts, though. He might not have sent his bat flying like a javelin, like he did a couple times last season, but he still made sure he let Bauer know what had just happened.
"You know I had to let him know, I walked it out a little bit," he said. "But what better spot could I hit it than dead center? He knew I got it. And I watched it.
"I told him to put that on his YouTube channel, as well."
We'll see if the clip ends up there. But of more interest to baseball fans, and maybe White Sox fans, in particular, is where Bauer ends up.
He's scheduled to hit the free-agent market after the conclusion of the 2020 season. And though the economics of baseball in the aftermath of a fan-less season are expected to have a big effect on free-agent spending this winter, the best players in the game could find themselves exceptions. Bauer, with his performance this season and in the ones before it, has established himself among that class of player.
Well, what about a return to the AL Central? Pitching on the South Side?
The White Sox are surefire contenders these days, and contending teams are the ones who find themselves in baseball's annual arms race. And this season has indeed shown that you can never have enough top-of-the-line starting pitching.
Those economics will obviously play a factor in what the White Sox do this offseason, and after spending so much on last year's free-agent market to land, among others, Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal — who threw four shutout innings and hit the second of three straight eighth-inning homers, respectively, Saturday night — they might not be ready to hand out another huge free-agent payday. Plus, in the starting-pitching department, they're expected to have the services of Michael Kopech and a full season of Dane Dunning come 2021. And that's without knowing what will become of Garrett Crochet.
But hey, never say never.
If it happens, though, the White Sox might need to bring in a mediator to resolve Anderson and Bauer's joking Twitter feud.