We’re almost two months into the 2022 season! Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Here are some thoughts that have popped into my head recently about our favorite team:
1. Have the Minnesota Twins had it easy so far this season?
Now I’m not complaining - the Twins are in first place (albeit in an unexpectedly weak American League Central) - but has Minnesota had a pretty lax schedule so far this year? The team is currently in a stretch of 28 games in which 25 of them have been or are going to be against teams that are below .500. Personally, I have expected a bit more out of the offense against these teams. 12 of their games (over a quarter of the completed schedule) have been decided by one run. Three games apiece were against Oakland and Kansas City, two games versus Seattle, and one game each against Cleveland, Baltimore, the White Sox, and Detroit. Most of those teams are below .500. My concern: Will the Twins be competitive against teams not in the cellar? We’ll see once they cross into Canada to face Toronto in early June to start a nine-game stretch against the top three teams in the A.L. East.
2. Emilio Pagán is not the setup man/closer the Twins need.
A running joke around here is the “[insert closer here] Experience”, and that’s no different with Emilio Pagán. After our recent experience with him shutting the door on Friday night against the Royals, it’s clear that Pagán is not the setup man and/or closer that Minnesota so desperately needs. Jhoan Duran has seemingly been used against the meat of the opponent’s order more than Pagán and Emilio gets the bottom of the order, leading him to play with fire a bit too much for my liking. The front office should start thinking about some changes to the bullpen leading up to the trade deadline.
3. Are the changes to the schedule starting next season a good idea?
If you haven’t heard, each team in MLB will play at least one series against each other (both A.L. and N.L.) starting next season, reducing the number of intra-divisional games from 19 contests to 14 total against each division rival. Currently, teams are playing against a team in their division 46.9% of the time; this will drop to 34.6% next year. I’ve been pondering if this is a good change or something to be old-man-shouting-at-clouds angry. Are 56 games against division rivals enough to determine who is the best team in the division? Or does it make those games more competitive and important? Overall, it’s good for the fans to see different teams and potentially stars from the opposite league they would have rarely seen play in person. It will also (hopefully) allow for better intra-divisional scheduling. This season, the Twins play the Guardians eight times in 10 days ... twice ... and are in the midst of playing 15 games against the Tigers and the Royals. Past seasons haven’t been better with scheduling either.
What are your thoughts on this season’s Twins schedule so far? Does the Emilio Pagán Experience need to be nipped in the bud? Are you in favor of the changes to the schedule starting in 2023?