For last year's American League Central fourth- and fifth-place squads, youth was served on Opening Day. Given both team's projections for 2014, that will be a theme every time the rebuilding clubs meet.
Wednesday's contest, however, will feature a pair of veterans on the mound looking to shut down those youthful lineups when right-hander Kevin Correia and the Twins take on fellow righty Felipe Paulino and the White Sox.
Both pitchers are in their 30s, but their paths to this matchup differ significantly. Correia was Minnesota's most consistent pitcher last season, his first with the club. He led the team with 31 starts and 185 1/3 innings to go along with a 4.18 ERA. The 11-year vet has made 190 career starts, more than triple that of Paulino.
The White Sox have high hopes for Paulino, whom they slotted second in the rotation to help break up three left-handed starters and is coming back from ulnar collateral replacement surgery that shelved him for the better part of the past year and a half.
"I feel blessed. Everybody knows my last year and a half was recovery," he said. "I'm happy to be back for Opening Day, I'm so excited for this. I want to be the same pitcher [I was] before I got injured. I want to compete in the game."
Paulino last pitched in a Major League game on June 6, 2012, when he allowed an unearned run on a hit over 2/3 innings vs. the Twins.
His Spring Training numbers were underwhelming, as he posted a 6.75 ERA in six starts covering 22 2/3 innings.
But Paulino said Spring Training was more about getting a feel for his pitches, and he feels "great" physically. Manager Robin Ventura added that Paulino looked better toward the end of camp and was getting better with his command.
While the South Siders' new, young acquisitions shined in Monday's season opener, Minnesota was limited to just three runs by Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, underscoring its biggest weakness: offense
The Twins, who ranked 13th in the American League in runs a year ago, field the same basic lineup save a few changes. Gone are longtime first baseman Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit, who split time between DH and the outfield. Replacing them is light-hitting catcher Kurt Suzuki, who last played more than 100 games in 2012, and Chris Colabello, a 30-year-old who was a career .315 hitter in nine Minor Leagues seasons in the independent Canadian-American Association before breaking in with the Twins' Double-A affiliate in 2012.
"Right now, if you look at our offense, we just don't have the feel we're going to be able to dominate teams with total offense," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We've got people that can do it, and hopefully when they start swinging good, maybe we will. But all the little things, the way it's shaping up right now, we have to do very, very well."
While Minnesota's Opening Day lineup -- which featured five players age 27 or younger -- struggled against one of the game's toughest pitchers, Chicago hopes it gets more performances out of its young core like it did in Monday's 5-3 win.
Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton all had two hits, with Abreu driving in Eaton and also scoring a run. In other words, so far, so good for a retooled lineup that has been touted by players, coaches and media alike as being more versatile and balanced than last year.
"I think we've got a lot of speed; we've got a lot of really good, professional hitters," Adam Dunn said. "That can make for a pretty potent offense."
As Dunn knows, though, it's only one game in a long grind. High expectations don't always pan out. Ask last year's White Sox, who finished dead last in the AL in runs scored.
"Last year, on paper our lineup was incredible, and things just didn't work out. That's baseball," Dunn said. "This year, it's got a lot of unknowns, but we've got some really talented guys, so I think it will be a very interesting lineup. It will be fun."
White Sox: Semien's mother makes long trip to see debut
Marcus Semien accomplished Spring Training goal No. 1 by breaking camp with the team, thanks to a good performance offensively and Gordon Beckham's oblique injury.
He said his mother made the trip from Antioch, Calif., to watch him make his first Opening Day start on Monday. It was a special moment for the two, but Semien's stay is indefinite, depending on how quickly Beckham returns to good health.
So is he eying a utility role once Beckham rejoins the team?
"I haven't focused on that at all," Semien said. "As long as I'm penciled in the lineup, that's all I can focus on is performing and doing the best I can to help us win."
Twins: Hicks starts season off well after dreadful 2013
Center fielder Aaron Hicks struggled at the plate last season, hitting just .192 in 81 games. Part of the problem may have been a rough start that damaged his confidence.
Hicks started last season, his first in the Majors, 2-for-48. On Monday, he went 2-for-3 with a double and run scored, at least partially washing away some of the bad taste of last season's hitting woes.
"It's important to get off to a good start," he said. "It's a pretty good start, but it's a long season. But it felt good to get two hits. It makes you more comfortable going into the next games after that."
• Five White Sox players made their first Opening Day starts on Monday: Abreu, Easton, Garcia, Conor Gillaspie and Semien. The last time five or more Sox players made their first start in a season opener was in 1944.
• The Twins have gone 8-12 in their last 20 games at U.S. Cellular field, but still hold a 64-63 edge since 2000.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.