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Fans riding bumpy road with Twins

The Minnesota Twins can hit, but not always at the right time, and they can pitch, but not against major league teams.

These are difficult times to be a baseball fan in Minnesota. Our big club is not playing well. Each time we turn around it seems like we run into a team with more talent on the payroll. We have started grasping for bright spots, like Francisco Liriano's fine pitching performance Wednesday against Oakland.

Faith can move mountains, but can it nick the outside corner for a strike on a 3-and-2 count with the bases loaded?

Here is where the Twins have really, I hate to say, dropped the ball.

The Twins seem to have identified the problem, but with so many other teams clamoring for pitching, they are having difficulty turning their young arms into All-Stars. Two seasons ago they had pitchers falling from the trees. Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker and a kid named Brian Duensing were starting on the hill. That group won 76 games, and the Twins went 94-68 to win the AL Central by a comfortable six games.

Big salaries tumbled down from the front office, after the Twins drew a record 3,223,640 fans to their new Target Field ballpark.

In 2011 we found out that there is nothing more volatile than a major league baseball team. That 2010 team that won 96 games was replaced by one that lost 99. Apart from Ron Gardenhire getting the boot for arguing with umps, everything about the Twins changed.

Before they built Target Field, some Twins Cities baseball writer figured out that 2010 was going to be the year for the Twins to really shine. They factored in all of the team's impressive up-and-coming talent, threw in an outdoor baseball venue and predicted a Golden Age of Baseball in Minnesota.

Again and again and again we have to come back to the plain, simple truth that these players are human beings. The game of baseball, on and off the field, is incredibly complex. You can build a new ballpark, but that does not mean a pennant. You can boost your payroll over the $100 million mark, but that does not mean complete games, batting titles or series sweeps. The ever-moving mass of young men who make up the Minnesota Twins have their ups and downs, just like the rest of us. What does not change is that managers need talent to bring home a championship.