Another game against the Cleveland Guardians, and another disaster for Minnesota Twins reliever Emilio Pagan.
Wednesday’s game between the Guardians and Twins followed a familiar script. Pagan was tasked with preserving the lead and failed spectacularly. He allowed a double and a walk while uncorking a wild pitch, leading to three runs, two earned, as he recorded just one out.
Minnesota Twins cannot pitch Emilio Pagan against Cleveland Guardians
That lack of success on Wednesday should not have been a surprise for anyone paying attention. Pagan has been a disaster for the Twins when facing Cleveland, allowing 12 runs, nine earned, on nine hits and three walks in his 5.1 innings. The Guardians just have his number.
In fact, one could even say that Pagan is their secret weapon against the Twins. As Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic pointed out, the Twins closer is the Guardians’ fifth best player against Minnesota. That is certainly not what anyone would want in any circumstance, let alone when the opponent is the nearest division rival.
There were questions regarding the Twins’ closer situation before this most recent implosion. Jhoan Duran has been dominant in a setup role and has earned a handful of save chances this season. Pagan, meanwhile, now has a 5.26 ERA and a 1.442 WHiP in his 25.2 innings, numbers that show that he should be in a lower leverage spot.
There are some problems. The Twins are missing several key pieces of their bullpen as six relievers, including Joe Smith, are on the Injured List. But that cannot be an excuse to continue to send Pagan out as their closer, especially against the Guardians. He simply cannot get those needed outs.
The Cleveland Guardians have their secret weapon in Emilio Pagan. The problem is that he is the closer for the Minnesota Twins.