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The Twins won't keep winning this much, but they don't need to

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Hot starts are one of baseball's greatest luxuries, and the Twins are doing what they need to do.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of ruining everything I write for you, here's a dumb flaw of mine: I write about every team as if they have a chance, if not now, then soon. Yesterday, I wrote about the Reds as if they might not be screwed. Imagine that!

Except it's not a calculated strategy. It's just that I'm a dogmatic parishioner of the Church of Baseball Making You Look Dumb, and I'm going door-to-door with some pamphlets for you. The glass is always half-full because you feel even dumber when you spend hours of your life and thousands of words yelling about it being half-empty. Before the season, I think I could have made a convincing argument that 27 or 28 teams had a real shot to contend. Most teams have at least one star. Most teams have at least a couple competent pitchers. It takes a really special team, like the Phillies, to not make the cut. And blessed be those teams, for they provide jokes and GIFs and easy column fodder.

One of the teams that didn't make that generous cut of could-contend teams: the Minnesota Twins. This might be because of my own biases; if I don't understand this wacky pitching-to-contact philosophy in the age of whiffs, well, I'll just pooh-pooh it. Although it is kind of refreshing to analyze a guy with a dropping strikeout rate like Phil Hughes and ask "What did the Twins make him do?" instead of "What's wrong with his arm?" I figured the Twins were going to have a team ERA closer to 4.50 than 3.50, and that their surprising lineup from last year would regress.

And that's exactly what happened. Their team ERA is 4.17, which is about the league average once you adjust for league and park. But their fielding-independent stats suggest, surprise, that the lack of strikeouts will become more of a problem, and the team FIP stats are even worse. The three hitters who looked like obvious candidates to take a step back -- Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, and Kennys Vargas -- have done just that, with a combined 11 walks and 94 strikeouts between them in 373 plate appearances. This is the Twins team I was counting on when I made my dumb predictions.

Except they keep winning.

In a way, it's so obvious. Every year, a team emerges from the definitely-won't-contend pile and makes a little unexpected noise, and in a baseball universe where even the Astros looked like they had a shot before the season, the best bet was probably the Twins. It's always the team right after your imaginary cutoff. I feel so dumb.

In another way, there's no way this is going to last. And here comes the party pooping. Like, everyone knows the term "party pooper", but have you actually stopped to consider the literal party pooping that has to occur for everyone's fun to get ruined? You probably shouldn't. No one wins. And instead of just riding this happy Twins fun coaster as far as it'll take us, we have to acknowledge fantasy's ugly cousin, logic. They've allowed fewer runs than they should have. They've scored more runs than they should have. They're winning one-run games. Their expected record is a touch inflated. According to FanGraphs they're much closer to a 16-24 team.

Jeff Sullivan wrote about the Twins last week, concluding:

The Twins have been the predictable Twins, but a little bit of good timing can make a mediocre team look impressive.

He would have been excused if, before publishing, he deleted every word and graph and wrote:

Mike Pelfrey is pitching well. He will not continue to. He is the Twins' spirit animal, the constellation in the sky that they pray to. They tell stories about him around the fire, and it is through him that they will live or die. The Twins are Mike Pelfrey and Mike Pelfrey is the Twins. They are a strikeout swallowing its own tail.

Indeed. And that's the story of how the deceptive team started losing because a bunch of nerds yelled at them to, hey, get down from there.

Except, we know the logic behind that. And we also know that logic and baseball have a tumultuous relationship. It's almost June, and the Twins have hope. Good. That's one of the reasons we keep watching this stuff. And the Twins don't have to make statistics happy. They have to keep logic away for just long enough. There are more ways to win than by scoring three runs when the other team gets two, and then scoring seven when the other team gets six, perfectly balancing on that electric third rail of fortuitous timing.

Good players can do great things, for example. You see what Bryce Harper is doing for the Nationals? Like that, but with Joe Mauer. Maybe Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier can hit like MVPs for a month instead of All-Stars. Maybe Phil Hughes has the month Twins fans have been waiting for, making 2014 seem like the new normal instead of an aberration. And, heck, maybe the players who aren't very good can do something. Before the season started, it was unlikely for things like this to happen for the Twins, and look where they are: in a spot where their season wouldn't end if the regular season stopped for 20 other teams.

They don't need to keep the .575 winning percentage up through magic and baseball luck for the rest of the year. They just need to avoid falling down a flight of stairs. If they can keep their heads above water and play just a little over their heads instead of a lot over their heads, they'll have the luxury of the trade deadline to fill the obvious gaps. They know they'll be trading money to the MLB Correctional Facility for Ervin Santana, which is a deal that should help them a bit. And by the end of July, they'll have a much better idea of where their weakest links are.

More importantly, perhaps, they have Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, who are both lurking in Double-A. Neither of them are hitting for a high average, and both of them are sure whiffing a lot. But they're both young and a little rusty. They also leave more talent on envelopes after they lick them than most teams have in their entire minor league system. They could be something of an internal trade deadline if either of them get hot.

Long post short: Will the Twins keep this up all season? No. The trick is that they don't have to. They just have to keep 80 percent of it up for the next two months. Then they can reevaluate and tinker as needed. The Twins have won 23 of their first 40 games, and they don't have to forfeit those wins when logic comes to repossess them. They just need to hang on a little bit longer.