O's starting preparations for showdown with Tigers

O's starting preparations for showdown with Tigers

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles returned home from Toronto on Sunday night ready for Monday's well-deserved rest day and a pair of light workouts to get them ready for Thursday's long-awaited American League Division Series Game 1 against the Tigers.

Baltimore entered Sunday's regular-season finale still unsure of which opponent it would get, and manager Buck Showalter has been careful to reveal anything beyond Game 1 starter Chris Tillman until the O's were sure who they were playing.

Showalter was expected to meet on Monday with the coaching staff and some of the front office to go over roster and rotation decisions as they strategize the best way to top the Tigers in the best-of-five set. Game 1 will be played at 5:37 p.m. ET on TBS.

The Orioles last played the Tigers in May, when they were swept by Detroit from May 12-14 at Camden Yards. They were held to just one run in two of those three games and they also dropped two of three in April in Detroit, making them 1-5 against the Tigers this season. This will be the first postseason matchup between the two organizations, with the O's holding home-field advantage for Games 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary).

  Date   Matchup/Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 2   BAL 12, DET 3 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   BAL 7, DET 6 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   BAL 2, DET 1 video

Traditionally in the Division Series, teams have gone with 10 pitchers on the 25-man roster. Showalter said the O's were hoping to go that way, although nothing has been officially announced. Teams have until 10 a.m. the day of the first game to announce their roster, and the Orioles will use the pair of practices to pare down their roster and decide what to do in several spots. Namely, third base.

With Manny Machado out for the season (knee surgery) and Chris Davis suspended, the defense at the hot corner has been suspect. Orioles third basemen committed seven errors in the team's final 10 games, and it will be interesting to see what the O's do at third. Coming down the stretch, Ryan Flaherty, Kelly Johnson and Jimmy Paredes all saw action there.

Rotation-wise, Tillman is expected to be opposed by Max Scherzer, last year's AL Cy Young Award winner.

The Tigers have three former Cy Youngs in their rotation -- also Justin Verlander and David Price -- and will go with four starters in the series.

For the O's, Wei-Yin Chen is most logical choice for Game 2. That leaves Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris as the O's likely remaining two starters, a decision that -- if made -- would put power righty Kevin Gausman in the bullpen.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.