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I'm old enough to remember a time when there was genuine optimism about the Twins pitching staff — confidence that was, at least for a little while, rewarded.

Then again, a 5-month-old was alive for that as well.

It was early April.

In the first five games of this season, the Twins sent to the mound in succession their preferred five starting pitchers: Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ. They combined to pitch 25.1 innings in those first five starts, giving up only three earned runs in that entire span.

Twins GM Thad Levine, who triumphantly declared on the Daily Delivery podcast six months ago that the Twins had enough pitching, much to my protest, was proven right in that moment.

And then ... well, slowly and then quickly it all fell apart. Maeda was ineffective, then injured, then better, then injured again. Berrios was quite good, but nobody else was. He was traded. Pineda started well, battled injuries, and is still hurt. Shoemaker was bad, then demoted, then departed. Happ was bad, then traded.

In their place, we see a Tuesday-Saturday rotation for the Twins this week that is really quite breathtaking:

Rookie Griffin Jax, followed by rookie Bailey Ober, followed by veteran stopgap John Gant — who pitched Thursday, which I talked about on Friday's podcast — followed by Andrew Albers, followed by Charlie Barnes.

If you don't see the podcast player, tap here to listen.

That group of five was enough for me to text Patrick Reusse to see if this is as bad as it has been in the last decade, but he kindly pointed me toward 2011 and 2016. I'll spare you some of those names.

Still, this is not an awe-inspiring bunch. Jax strung together some decent starts before getting rocked by the Red Sox, but he's still given up 14 homers in just 48.2 innings this season. Ober has a real chance to pitch in 2022. Gant has an OK track record but hasn't shown much in the present to make you want to see more in the future. Albers is a great story, but he last pitched in the majors in 2017. Barnes is rotation filler.

Bring on Joe Ryan, the prospect the Twins got for Nelson Cruz who is dominating for the Saints so far. Bring back Randy Dobnak, who looks like he's getting healthy. Let's learn something about the 2022 rotation before it's too late.