When a season goes off the rails early on as it did for the Twins, there are plenty of areas in which to assign blame. One of the biggest in the months of May and June, though, was easy to pinpoint: lousy starting pitching.

Twins starters had a 6.22 ERA in May, followed by a 6.05 ERA in June as the club's season went from bad to worse.

Likewise, when things start going a little better — as they have recently — there usually are a number of reasons for improvement. While the offense's collective improvement (including the sudden ability to hit home runs with men on base) is high on the list, so too is the better starting pitching of late.

Twins starters entered Sunday with a 6-1 record and a 3.00 ERA in July. Tommy Milone gave them five more decent innings in the final game before the break.

When that happens, baseball sure gets easier.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. mrand@startribune.com