Nobody should profess to know everything about this 2015 Twins team, but 27 games in — we're officially one-sixth done after Tuesday's game — these trends are presenting themselves:
1. This is a resilient team. A lot of us wrote them off after a terrible first week. I was guilty of sending more than one text indicating I thought this could be the worst team of the past five Twins seasons. It was a good lesson in small sample sizes, but the manner in which this team started 1-6 was alarming … and the manner in which it has now played itself into a winning record is a testament to the manager and players staying the course (and performing better).
That resiliency has been on display in individual games, including Monday's comeback win over Oakland. Down 4-0 after a first-inning grand slam, the Twins looked like they were headed to an improbable 0-6 record in Phil Hughes' starts. Instead they rallied and kept their momentum going.
2. This team is going to hit. The Twins entered Tuesday 12th in MLB in runs scored (113) and eighth in batting average (.260), and that's without any one player getting off to a torrid start. Rather, this lineup has the feel of being able to generate runs even if everyone isn't clicking.
3. The pitching still isn't great, but it's better. Twins starters had a 4.43 ERA entering Tuesday's game, 21st in MLB. That's still not great, but it's a marked improvement over recent seasons. And that's without Ervin Santana. It speaks to improved depth.
4. Paul Molitor is getting high marks already for the way he manages. He's done a nice job with mix-and-match lineups — with a willingness to platoon and take advantage of hot hitters or good matchups. The way he's used the bullpen is encouraging. I like that the Twins put Oswaldo Arcia on the DL immediately instead of waiting.
5. The Twins in recent years have had competent stretches of play that gave way to doldrums. We've seen guarded optimism in June turn to despair by September. The numbers don't lie: In the first 100 games of seasons from 2011 to present, Minnesota has a .453 winning percentage. In the last 62 games of seasons in the same span, the winning percentage is .347.
Resiliency can fade if losses mount, the pitching could go south and the bats could cool off. The question is how much, and the larger question is to what degree this recent stretch of good play is sustainable.