What can we say about Emilio Pagán that hasn’t already been said? That’s right, pretty much nothing. So, I won’t bother.
What does bother me, is the same thing that seems to bother many Twins fans as of late. how are these decisions to pull pitchers being made? I had come to accept, though not agree with or approve of, the notion that starters had to exit before the third time through the line-up, even if they hadn’t touched 70 pitches. But, as the season wears on, and that philosophy seems to blow up in our faces quite often. It’s not fun anymore.
Early in the season, using the bullpen so much perhaps wasn’t as much of a concern, but as the season wears on, having the starters go a bit longer every now and then, would seem to be simple logic, as much as a serious philosophical change. It’s my understanding that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. While I don’t want to suggest that Rocco and/or his superiors are insane, they do seem quite hell-bent on doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. But enough about Pagán.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for re-thinking the philosophy. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Pagán in particular to pitch only when the Twins are well ahead or well behind. Maybe, I’m just saying, maybe. Maybe, an ability to change one’s mind in the face of contradictory evidence would illustrate higher level thinking. While we know many in society are incapable of changing their minds about certain things, despite any and all evidence contrasting with their initial beliefs, can’t we expect more of baseball fans, baseball managers, and general managers?
As I write this, with less than 60 games remaining in the season, the Twins are 2 games out, tied with the White Sox for second place. The White Sox, many remember, have been given up for dead since the second week of the season. Whether the White Sox have risen from the ashes, or the Twins have sunk to their level is yet another philosophical discussion, but whichever is true, the Twins now have two teams to beat to make the post-season.
It wasn’t that long ago, when it seemed like the post-season was a foregone conclusion, as the White Sox were struggling mightily and the Guardians payroll suggested they weren’t really all-in on this season anyway. Discussion centered upon getting that elusive playoff win.
That discussion now seems a tad premature. The Twins may be good enough to capture that Central Division crown, but at four games over .500 they really don’t seem good enough to make much noise should they make the play-offs.
All that is new is old again, or all that is old is new again. It’s the same thing over and over. Struggle to win the division and then get buried by a better team. The tone of the fans, and certainly the media has largely been a reinforcement of that notion. Last week against the Dodgers, one of the best, if not the best team in baseball this year, it was as if there was really no hope in winning a game, and certainly no shame in being beaten soundly in both games. It was, as usual, expected.
So, here we are again in mid-August, same thing over again. It’s much nicer to be fighting for a playoff spot than to be all but eliminated by now, there’s no doubt about that. But, in the end, nobody really believes this team has what it takes to be a genuine contender. Maybe the offense hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, to overcome the bullpen entirely living up to expectations, but whatever it has been, the Twins are a slightly better than .500 team. Beat the bad teams, compete hard against the middling teams, and accept defeat at the hands of the better teams.
I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. But mostly, I’ve just come to accept it, as I’ve tried to understand that seeing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results would be insane, and I won’t fall into that trap. If I want insanity in my life, I’ll just follow the daily news more closely than the baseball news.