6 observations from Twins opening series vs. Royals

Minnesota is off to a 2-1 start, and we're already learning a lot about this team.
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

After a long, and mostly uneventful winter, Minnesota Twins baseball is back in our lives.

Opening weekend brought mostly good news for Minnesota, as the team is off to a 2-1 start and looks like a contender once again. The offense, which was lagging for large parts of last season, came flying out of the gate scoring nine runs in the first two games.

.Let's hope the trend continues in the early going.

It is a sigh of relief to see the Twins take care of business against a team they should be beating in Kansas City, the 11-0 loss on Sunday notwithstanding. Of course, the injury to Royce Lewis colored everything that happened this weekend and cast a shadow over the otherwise exciting start.

6 observations from Twins opening series vs. Royals

Royce Lewis injury news could have been a lot worse

A heavy sigh of frustration as Royce Lewis went down with a quad strain after hitting a home run and a single on Opening Day. It was an awesome start to the season but it's also where we will have to hit pause on his potential MVP campaign. Lewis came up limping while rounding second on a Carlos Correa RBI double, leaving the game right after that. Two days later we learned that Lewis would be out for at least a month, with some not expecting him back until potentially the All-Star Break.

Given his injury past, it could have been a lot worse.

Losing Lewis isn't ideal, but having him sidelined for a few months is a lot better than watching another full season get wiped out by an injury. All of us will have to dry our tears and hope the injuries are fewer and farther between once he returns.

A path is opening for Brooks Lee to make his debut

Fans will have to be patient as Brooks Lee deals with back spasms, something that is keeping him out of action at St. Paul for most of this first month. Once he returns to action, though, he'll be on a path to potentially taking over for Royce Lewis at third base on the MLB roster.

Of course, before we get there he'll need to get healthy -- a theme across the Twins roster that is already annoying to deal with. Hopefully it's just a temporary issue and not a sign of further trouble.

Byron Buxton is officially back

A heavy sigh of relief as Byron Buxton legged out a double without incident this weekend. On top of that, we saw him return to centerfield in a regular season game for the first time since August 2022. It was a triumphant return for Buck, who had an uncharacteristically atrocious year last season and hardly looked like the superstar we've come to know.

Buxton looked like his old self in the first few games of the season, which is a promising sign. He'll need maintenance days but it appears he made opening weekend unscathed on the injury front.

Bailey Ober was absolutely brutal, but he'll get better

Battered and bruised in less than two innings of work on Sunday, Bailey Ober was yanked after he gave up 9 hits and 8 earned runs. He owns a 54.00 ERA as a result, which looks bad but it also a reminder that things are going to get better.

Ober is expected to help fill the void left by Sonny Gray, one the Twins refused to address externally this winter. We saw a lot of good stuff from Ober last season and he's still poised to break out the way the team needs him to. Sunday was a bad look, and a decidedly Not Fun way for him to start his season, but it's not his last start of the season.

There should be brighter days ahead, but a rough start for a starter the Twins are leaning on to solidify the middle of the rotation is mild cause for concern.

The Jorge Polanco trade isn't aging very well

When the Twins flipped Jorge Polanco to the Seattle Mariners, the return raised a few eyebrows. Rather than replacing Sonny Gray, the Twins used Polanco to strengthen the bullpen and add a fifth starter to replace Kenta Maeda.

Three games into the season and we've yet to see either Anthony DeSclafani or Justin Topa.

It appears DeScalfani will likely never throw a pitch for the Twins. His season was ended this weekend when it was announced he'd need surgery on his elbow, although the upside is it's not Tommy John. Maybe he'll be back on a low priced deal over the winter, but it's looking like the best part about him being in the Polanco trade was the money he helped free up.

More frustrating is the fact we have to wait for Justin Topa's season to begin. He's on the IL and expected to return to the team next week, but it's not the best look that both pitchers the Twins acquired for Polanco are already hurt.

Pablo Lopez picked right back up where he left off

A cry of joy as Pablo Lopez looked razor sharp in his opening debut.

A legit No. 1 starter who solidifies the top of the Twins rotation is exciting -- and relieving -- beyond words. Pablo finished his second Opening day start pitching seven full innings while striking out seven batters and allowing just one run. Other than a solo home run by Maikel Garcia in the first inning, Lopez locked down the Royals and looked every bit like the ace the Twins need him to be.

Kansas City certainly isn't in the same line up category as Houston, but a very encouraging start for Pablo to begin the season.

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