So far this season, the ups have far outnumbered the downs. After sweeping the Orioles in Baltimore early last week and then splitting the first two games of a homestand on Friday and Saturday, the Twins have a 26-19 record and the top spot in the American League Central. Through Friday, their rotation’s earned run average, 4.18, ranked 11th in the majors, with help from a renewed emphasis on defense. Last season their starters’ E.R.A. was last in the majors, at 5.39, and their defense was among the worst.
Ervin Santana is the Twins’ ace, with two shutouts and a 1.80 E.R.A., and Jose Berrios has been a sensation, winning all three of his starts while allowing only eight hits and four earned runs in 21 ⅔ innings. Berrios, 23, had an 8.02 E.R.A. as a rookie last season.
“We always talk about guys who are good now, and we forget about their first 15 to 20 starts,” Falvey said. “Look back at Corey Kluber’s first 15 starts. They did not look like Corey Kluber now, I can tell you that. It’s not that rare for a young pitcher.”
Kluber had a 5.35 E.R.A. in his first 15 major league games, before establishing himself as the…