Minnesota and Baltimore finished at the bottom of their respective American League divisions last season -- the Twins at 63-99 in the Central, and the Orioles at 69-93 in the East -- but view 2012 as a clean slate.
After the O's took the season opener, 4-2 on Friday, Francisco Liriano and Tommy Hunter will square off in the second game of the series Saturday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The teams split the first four meetings last season, before the Orioles swept a four-game August set in Minneapolis (outscoring the Twins, 24-4) to take the season series, 6-2.
Liriano is looking to rebound after posting a 5.09 ERA in 134 1/3 innings last season, and is hoping to use a big spring as momentum. He had a 2.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just five walks in 27 frames.
"We liked the way he threw the ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He kept his hand up top and got on top of the ball. If he can carry that into the season, we'll feel really good about that. He's been throwing the ball well."
Liriano credited his Spring Training success to the opportunity he had to pitch in winter ball after not playing the previous offseason.
"That helped me a lot," Liriano said. "Going home and not pitching for like six months is not good at all for me. So I go home and pitch winter ball, that helped me a lot. Get my mechanics back and work on the things I need to work on."
Baltimore will counter with the 25-year-old Hunter, who is appearing on an Opening Day 25-man roster for the first time. The right-hander spent the first three years of his career with the Rangers before coming to Baltimore in a Trade Deadline deal last year.
He was 3-3 in 12 games (11 starts) for the O's last season, with a 5.06 ERA.
Twins: Closing on milestones
Justin Morneau needs one double to tie Harmon Killebrew for eighth on the Twins' all-time list (232), one run to tie Roy Smalley for 13th (551) and two RBIs to tie Torii Hunter for 14th (711).
Liriano said his goal for this season is to limit his walks, work deeper into games, throw less pitches per batter and try to throw the first pitch of the at-bat for a strike.
"I feel healthy," Liriano said. "Nothing's bothering me like last year, so it feels pretty good."
Orioles: Hunter all caught up
Hunter last threw on Sunday in a Minor League intrasquad game in Florida to wrap up his spring campaign. He allowed two runs (one earned) and said he felt good about the outing.
He said afterward that he was focused on his changeup, which he threw "about 11 times in a row" at one point. Manager Buck Showalter said this spring that Hunter, who was slowed earlier this spring with lower back discomfort, had the eye of the tiger late in Spring Training and is ready to go.
"Tommy had a good look in his face," Showalter said. "Guys understand what time of year it is and what's going on. He was really focused."
Fans of both clubs will see plenty of new faces this weekend. Both Baltimore and Minnesota have just 11 players from last year's Opening Day 25-man rosters on their respective Opening Day rosters this year.
Between the two clubs, there were six starters in Friday's opener (Josh Willingham, Jamey Carroll, Chris Parmelee, Ryan Doumit, Wilson Betemit and Chris Davis) who were not on either club's Opening Day 25-man roster last season.
The Orioles are 37-22 all time on Opening Day, and 28-13 in home openers. The Twins are 24-28 on Opening Day, and have not won a season opener since 2008.
Baltimore has won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams.