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Twins' secret goes beyond the boxscore

Baseball lovers really go for statistics because they can say so much about a ballgame.

But the secret to the Minnesota Twins this season is not to be found in something as innocuous as a boxscore.

After last year's 63-99 season a good share of their fans had doubts about the Twins. What happened? The Twins had won the American League Central Division title in 2010 and had drawn 3.2 million fans to their new ballpark. If they would have been shooting a motion picture the director would have hollered "cut" and told the Twins to follow the script.

The long and short of it was that injuries destroyed their season. Some of these guys may be multi-millionaires but they still put their pants on the same way as you - one leg at a time. Sometimes they play well, sometimes not. Let's face it, the major league baseball season is 162 games long. It is as much an ordeal as a sport.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly guided the Twins two World Series championships. I once heard him say that the mark of a good team is one that manages to keep their losing streaks short. Ron Gardenhire has been pretty good at following that strategy too. It is one of the reasons he is skippering the Twins again this year.

The Twins were definitely not one of the good teams last year. Their worst months were August and September. They were 7-21 in August and 6-20 in September, That adds up to 13 wins in 64 games and an anemic .203 winning percentage. Some of their injured players, like Joe Mauer (who did not seem to have enough time to play baseball) and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (who did not know how to play second base), were back by that time but it did not matter. The 2011 season had been written off just like a long drive to left that tailed into foul territory.

So how will the Twins fare this season? Looking at them in spring training you would have to believe they are not going to finish in the cellar - nor are they going to sew up the Central Division title by the All-Star break. If you are a Twins fan hang in there, expect adversity. This team is a long way from perfect. Mediocre would be a nice way of describing their pitching and their best hope of producing more runs is to have them M and M Boys - Mauer and Justin Morneau - producing like they did in their MVP years.

If the Twins need anything this year it is a memory for the recent past. They have to keep reminding each other of how crummy it was to be one of the worst teams in baseball last year.