Their ERA was the worst in the major leagues entering Friday, at a robust 5.46, but that rated as an improvement from just five games ago for the Texas Rangers' starting pitchers.
No MLB team had seen its rotation allow more hits (478), runs (274) or home runs (78) than the Rangers had seen from theirs, but even that had improved over the past week.
Make no mistake: The Rangers' rotation wasn't about to hold a parade for its most recent work. But the work had been better, with a few glaring exceptions.
However, there's more to the upward tick than the demotion of Matt Moore to the bullpen and the demotion of Yohander Mendez to the minor leagues.
Oddly, the offense, as healthy as it has been all season, has a hand in the turnaround, perhaps the biggest hand.
Whatever the reasons, the net result has been the Rangers' longest winning streak of the season.
Mike Minor took his turn Friday night at Target Field, allowing one run in six innings as the Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 8-1 for their sixth consecutive victory.
"The guys, it seems like they've been pounding the strike zone more and getting some quick outs, and they've been able to go deep in the game," catcher Robinson Chirinos said. "It's good to see that, especially for our bullpen. The guys have been working really hard to this point. I pray we can stay like that for three more months."
With more strikes come fewer walks, and the Rangers had allowed only 131 of them entering Friday. The staff has a whole was averaging 2.94 walks per nine innings, which was fifth-best in the American League.
Included was a stretch of 22 consecutive games with no more than three walks, the longest such streak in the majors the past eight seasons.
They've even stopped plunking so many hitters, with a streak that had stretched to 13 games.
"We've got some guys that throw strikes that made a commitment to attack the strike zone and utilizing the defense behind them," manager Jeff Banister said.
Banister pointed out the offense's effect. With the return of shortstop Elvis Andrus on Monday, the Rangers are as healthy as they have been since Opening Day. They still have batters who are underperforming, but they have more hitters to cover up the blemishes.
The starters no longer feel as if they have to pitch a shutout each time out. They don't have to be as careful in certain situations and can pitch aggressively, because they believe the offense is going to support them with runs.
Shin-Soo Choo has been the best hitter for the past month, and his two-run homer Friday in the fifth inning gave the Rangers and Minor a 4-0 lead. A walk by Ronald Guzman helped set up the inning, and extended the offense's AL lead in walks.
The propensity of walks drawn by the hitters and the diminished amount of walks surrendered by the pitching staff go hand-in-hand, Banister said.
The pitchers are working quicker innings, which gets the hitters back to the plate sooner, and the hitters are making the opposing pitchers work harder, giving their pitchers a chance to reset between innings.
If forced to chose one over the other, Banister would take the pitchers' walk trend. It also helps clean up the defense.
"The thing that can really kill an offense is being on the field an extended period of time," Banister said. "I'd stick with the low-walk from the pitching side."
Minor took a one-hitter into the sixth as the Rangers won for the second straight time with him on the mound. He worked quickly and efficiently the first five innings, throwing only 58 pitches (39 strikes), before laboring in a 35-pitch, two-walk sixth.
But he got out of it with the Rangers up three, and three relievers took care of the rest.
"They fouled a lot of balls off, and I started making bad pitches," Minor said. "It could have been bad. I threw a ton of pitches. I felt pretty good for the most part up until the sixth inning. I've been feeling good the last three starts. Hopefully, I just keep it going."
The defense chipped in. Joey Gallo threw out Brian Dozier at second base try to stretch a first-inning single; Nomar Mazara drifted back to the right-field wall on a drive by Taylor Motter; and Chirinos threw to second to catch Ryan LaMarre as he tried to advance on a wild pitch.
Minor has found his groove in his first duty as a starter since 2014. During spring training, he said he was curious to see if he could clear the obstacles that slowed him in the fourth inning while rehabbing as a starter in 2016.
He has done that, seeing the sixth in four of his past five starts and failing to log more than five only twice in 14 starts. The Rangers have given him extra rest between the majority of his starts, which he says he doesn't need, and is finally pitching as well as he has all season.
He's also sporting a pretty sweet mustache.
"You can see him getting more comfortable," Chirinos said. "He's been working really hard since spring training to this point to be able to go six or seven innings and feel good. Sometimes your body and mind feel good, but it just takes time."
The same could be said for Cole Hamels, who has turned it on as the season has dragged one. Bartolo Colon, who starts Sunday, has been good more often than he has been bad. Saturday starter Yovani Gallardo goes for the second time since his promotion, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx was good enough Wednesday in a pinch after replacing Mendez.
Better late than never appears to be the mantra for the rotation.