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2013 Twins season preview: From bad to ... better?

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Today marks the beginning of a 181-day stretch in which the Minnesota Twins will play 162 games.

The 2013 season begins when the Twins welcome the Detroit Tigers to Target Field for a chilly Opening Day. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast calls for a high temperature of 32 degrees. Others predict a one or two few degrees north of that (KARE: 33, WCCO: 34, KSTP: 33, FOX9: 32), but that's it. No one says the temps will crack 40.

To put that in perspective, remember that it was warmer when the Gophers men's hockey team played Wisconsin at Soldier Field a few months ago.

At a pregame news conference today, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau laid it on the line:

While the air temp will be cold, the playing field is heated, and should be between 62-64 degrees, according to head groundskeeper Larry DiVito.

The Twins' Opening Day 25-man roster features quite a few new names, and the projected lineup has a major change to it -- Joe Mauer is penciled in as the No. 2 hitter. He's been the No. 3 hitter for the majority of his career.

Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez was the last player picked to fill out the 25-man roster.

Fans are hoping the Twins won't continue a trend that has seen the club lose 195 games over the last two years. The losing has left manager Ron Gardenhire's future in question.

Mauer is hopeful the Twins can get back to where they were two years ago, winning the division.

Mauer, who turns 30-years-old on April 19, is entering his 10th year in the big leagues. He's once again fully healthy, a year after playing a career high 147 games.

How many games will the Twins win this season? That question is usually answered with how many games they'll end up losing.

Blogger Aaron Gleeman isn't exactly optimistic, writing for MinnPost today that his expectations for a Twins season is the lowest in 12 years.

FOX Sports North's Tyler Mason doesn't think the Twins can be as bad as they were the last two season -- losing 96 and 99 games.

Jon Marthaler of the Star Tribune has a sarcastic take, saying the Twins will eliminated from playoff contention by Friday.

Sports Illustrated predicts the Twins will finish with a 60-102 record. That would equal the 1982 Twins for the worst record in team history.

Last word? From Strib writer Howard Sinker, who says it's OK to expect miracles ... especially today.

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