MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins entered the season wanting to quickly distance themselves from last year's disappointing campaign, in which they lost 99 games.
Through four games, however, they have done little to move past that, as they've been outscored, 20-6, in four defeats, including a sweep at the hands of the Orioles and a loss to the Angels in the home opener at Target Field.
But the Twins are confident they'll turn things around, and they are quick to point out that it's just the first four games of the year -- less than 2.5 percent of the schedule.
"It's not the most ideal of starts, but we're better than this," catcher Ryan Doumit said. "We keep talking, [saying] this is the calm before the storm. We haven't quite clicked on all cylinders yet, and when we do, we're going to be pretty tough."
There is reason for optimism, as the Twins are fully healthy, with such key players as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span in the lineup.
But even though the offense should be one of the club's main strengths this year, the bats have been slow out of the gate, hitting just .165 with five extra-base hits.
New addition Josh Willingham has been one of the few exceptions, as he's hitting .385 with two homers and a double. He believes the offense will figure it out soon.
"Hopefully, we just get a bunch of guys going at the same time -- that's how you score runs," Willingham said. "Usually, it's contagious, hitting is, on both ends. Right now, it's on the other end, so hopefully, we can turn it around."
Minnesota has had trouble against opposing starters, as Baltimore's Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel and Los Angeles' C.J. Wilson combined to allow just two earned runs over 29 innings.
The Twins fared better against relievers late in games but have fallen just short in a few end-of-game rallies.
"We've seen some pretty good pitching, but we've got to come up with some hits," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We've got hitters we think can score some runs, and we've got to do that."
It's not going to get any easier for Minnesota, considering the club will face Angels co-aces Jered Weaver and Dan Haren next before opposing the Rangers trio of Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz this weekend.
The Twins also have a brutal stretch coming up, playing the Angels, Rangers, Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers and Brewers in 30 of their next 38 games.
But the mentality is that they'll have to play those teams during the year anyway, so they might as well do it while it's early and the team is healthy.
"You've got to beat them, and it doesn't matter if it's the beginning, the middle or the end," reliever Glen Perkins said. "You still have to be able to beat them. So bring them on. I think we're strong right now and that we're not far away."
The Twins also believe that once they get their first win under their belt, it'll relieve some pressure and help keep them loose moving forward.
"Early on, guys tend to press a little bit, tend to do too much, which is normal," Doumit said. "Especially the first couple of games when we don't score runs, you go up there and try to hit the five-run home run every at-bat. You just can't play like that. Once everybody settles down and plays up to their capabilities, we're going to be pretty good."
The Twins are eager to put last year behind them, and there's no doubt they have been pressing so far.
But as they keep pointing out, it's still very early in the year, so they believe there is plenty of time to get back on track.
"Once we get things rolling, it's such a fresh season," right-hander Nick Blackburn said. "There's still possibly nerves, or still people trying to do too much to try to prove last year was a fluke. Once we just settle in and start doing our jobs and worrying about what we can control, I honestly think we'll be fine."