Enjoy it while it lasts. The Twins are certainly on a good run, and it's been a long time coming.

As I see it, this surge is something of a fluke, statistical randomness at work. On Saturday the Twins picked up their ninth win in 10 games. Nobody's truly a .900 team, of course, but even the Twins' total season record (which, of course, includes their dismal first week) is riddled with statistical static.

For example: In their first 31 games, the Twins had a .304 batting average with runners in scoring position and a .247 batting average with nobody on. To predict that the first number will fall over the course of the season and the second will rise is to go out on a fairly thick limb. And if that happens, the two may cancel each other out — more opportunities generated but cashed in at a lower rate.

More troublesome statistical noise is to be found in the starting rotation, specifically the strange ERAs of Kyle Gibson (2.97) and Mike Pelfrey (2.62).

These two are essentially the same pitcher: Tall right-handers who rely on power sinkers with very low strikeout rates and some command issues. Each has had Tommy John surgery, each has struggled over the years to find a reliable change-up. Gibson entered the season with a 4.92 career ERA, Pelfrey with a 4.56 career ERA.

And now, suddenly, they're sporting ERAs about two runs lower than their career norms. Has anything really changed with either?

Well, Pelfrey in particular is throwing an offspeed pitch (a splitter) more frequently. But both pitchers are actually striking out fewer hitters this year than in the past, and that would be a red flag even if they were pitching in front of a stellar defense, which they are not.

Gibson's stellar ERA comes with 2.7 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine innings, Pelfrey's with 4.2 strikeouts and 3.4 walks. There is no way to square those circles. Either the walk and strikeout ratios improve sharply, or the ERAs worsen sharply. Well, there's a third option: Injury. (Pitchers with very low strikeout rates have higher injury rates.)

Both have thrown about 35 innings (six starts apiece), so this season's sample size is small. But they have longer track records. I don't see reason to believe that either has truly advanced their skill sets, so I expect to see their ERAs to worsen with time.

There are plenty of examples, of course, of such pitchers having a big season. Joe Mays in 2001 went 17-13 with a 3.16 ERA. Scott Erickson won 20 games in 1991. It's possible for Gibson and/or Pelfrey to do the same. But that shouldn't be expected, and it certainly won't be sustainable into the future even it does happen.

Some will call that pessimistic. I call it realistic. 

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