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Too soon to panic, but Twins starters off to another bad start

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It's way too early to hit the panic button, the revamped Minnesota Twins starting rotation has not gotten off to a very good start.

Fox Sports North did the research and after one week of baseball the cumulative earned-run average of Minnesota's starters is 6.32. Kevin Corriea was pulled after allowing six runs only 5 2/3 innings in the 8-3 loss to the Athletics in Monday's Home Opener. Through seven games, Minnesota's starters are averaging a disappointing 5 1/3 innings per start.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is confident his group, which includes newcomers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, will improve.

"We know we have good pitchers. We know these guys can pitch," Gardenhire said. "We know they're going to get outs. Right now, it's a little bit of a struggle the way they're throwing the ball. They've had some good innings. Obviously their performances are going to get better."

The veteran acquisitions of Nolasco and Hughes were supposed to help bolster a rotation that finished with an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA last season. The combined ERA of 6.32 is currently last in the league again.

Pitching deeper into games will be key for the starting rotation, which also includes Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson. Minnesota's starters also finished last in the league last season in innings pitched (817) and quality starts (62).

Nolasco has a 9.00 ERA through two starts. Hughes allowed four runs but lasted only five innings in his only start of the season, a 10-9 win over the White Sox. He'll get his second opportunity to start when the Twins play Oakland on Wednesday at Target Field.

According to the Twins, Hughes has a 2.11 ERA in three career starts at Target Field. He'll be looking to solve an Oakland lineup that has outscored the Twins 76-26 in eight games going back to last season.

"I've always loved pitching here in the past," Hughes said of pitching at Target Field. "It's a pitchers' ballpark, and it's a beautiful ballpark as well. I think it's one of the best in baseball."

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