The Twins, over their past 101 games since an awful and offensively challenged 10-26 start, have scored runs at a pace on par with the top five teams in baseball. They have scored 487 runs in that span -- 4.82 per game, good enough to win plenty of games.
A closer look at the numbers, though, reveals some strange qualities in how the average is obtained. Namely: The Twins have a bad habit of having their entire lineup get hot or cold at the same time, thereby producing the types of feast-or-famine numbers like we've seen during ice-cold stretches before and after 18-run outbursts such as the one Tuesday vs. Chicago.
They are 27-2 this year when scoring at least seven runs in a game. Also not surprisingly given their pitching is their abysmal record in games when they score three or fewer runs this season: 5-62. What is surprising, given their overall offensive numbers, is the quantity of games in which they've scored three runs or fewer -- 67 games, nearly half of the 137 games they have played. Included in that are 45 of their past 101, when the offense, on average, has been rather robust. For comparison, the Washington Nationals -- who have scored almost the same number of runs overall as the Twins -- entered Wednesday night with 10 fewer games this season of three runs or fewer.
The Twins' past 17 games, during which they are 6-11, are a microcosm of the season. Runs scored, game-by-game, in that span: 7, 1, 1, 6, 0, 3, 6, 0, 2, 10, 4, 3, 8, 4, 2, 18 and 2. They scored three runs or fewer in nine of the 17. But the total runs scored (77) work out to a respectable 4.53 runs per game.
On a team that entered Wednesday with the worst ERA in the American League (4.80), it's hard to blame the offense. With 25 games left in the season, the Twins have scored 607 runs -- only 12 shy of matching their total from all of 2011.
But the Twins hitters have either ganged up on bad pitching in blowouts, been unlucky with their run dispersal or a little bit of both in compiling an overall run total that looks impressive but often comes up short game-by-game.