The Twins at the All-Star break were a mess.

They had stumbled into the break after being swept by Baltimore, and suddenly they were below .500 and had sunk into second place in a division that they could have instead been dominating.

Even the most positive thing about the team — excellent pitching that had been among the best in MLB — was tinged with this regret: How had they managed to squander it?

Since the break, the narrative has changed dramatically. The Twins won eight of their first 10 games and averaged 5.9 runs in that span. Some of it had to do with their competition, after sweeping the feeble A's and underachieving White Sox.

But the rest of the story of how the offense led the way to a post-break surge can be attributed to the law of averages, something Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast in the context of both the Twins and Vikings.

First off, the Twins were a dismal 9-15 in one-run games before the break this season. Rocco Baldelli detractors would point to their 20-28 record in one-run games in 2022 and say their close losses were a trend exacerbated by bad bullpen management, but that would ignore that the Twins were 57-36 in one-run games during Baldelli's first three years at the helm of the Twins.

Close wins and losses are influenced by multiple factors, but over time they tend to even out. And the Twins entered Monday 4-1 in one-run games since the break, including the last two wins of the White Sox series.

Three of those one-run wins were by identical 5-4 scores, games the Twins would have lost if not for an upgraded level of offensive competence. But why has the offense been so much more productive since the break?

It's not fewer strikeouts. The Twins as a team struck out about 10 times per game before the break. In the first 10 games after the break, they struck out 11.9 times per game.

But when they have put the ball in play, they are seeing dramatically improved results. Before the break, their batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .292 — below league average and not in line with how often they were hitting the ball hard.

In the first 10 games since the break? Their BABIP was a stunning .352. That will inevitably decrease as time goes on, but for now the Twins have made good use of some offensive fortune that was due to come their way.

Here are four more things to know today:

*Reusse said on Monday's podcast that the Vikings owe the Football Gods three victories in 2023 (in reality three Vikings losses) to make up for the absolutely bonkers nature of their 13-4 season a year ago. How many of you would argue that the debt was already paid in past heartbreak?

*If the Twins' offensive surge proves to be more of a mirage than a trend, here is a good look at players they could pursue before the trade deadline next week.

*NFL running backs are frustrated about their financial state of affairs, and some of the best ones reportedly participated in a Zoom call recently to talk about it. "No major plans emerged from the meeting," per ESPN, which is standard operating procedure for a large group Zoom meeting.

*Thanks to everyone who reached out in this difficult time to make sure I know the downtown Minneapolis skyway Taco John's has closed. I hope to commemorate the treasured Taco Tuesday spot on a future podcast.