DETROIT -- The Orioles were clear Sunday that this -- a 3-0 sweep of the Tigers in the American League Division Series -- was only a step toward their ultimate goal. But now that the Tigers are in the rearview mirror, the O's will have to face the hottest team in baseball: the Kansas City Royals.
Kansas City topped the Angels 8-3 on Sunday night, sweeping Los Angeles out of the ALDS after stunning the A's in the Wild Card Game. They are fast, they can pitch and they now have five days in between games, just like the Orioles.
The Orioles' sweep, which gives them rest, all but guarantees that suspended first baseman Chris Davis will not be added to the ALCS roster. Davis has five games remaining on his suspension and the O's will not want to play down a man -- which is what the rule requires -- for most of the best-of-seven set.
The O's went 3-for-7 against the Royals this season. They split a four-game set in May in Kansas City after going 1-2 in a three-game series in April in Baltimore. Still, Baltimore has home-field advantage against Kansas City, hosting Games 1, 2, 6 and 7, if needed, at Camden Yards and the travel is easier, as outfielder Nelson Cruz noted Sunday, than it would have been with Anaheim.
"I don't think anybody matches up good against those two teams [the Royals and Angels]," manager Buck Showalter said before knowing the outcome of Sunday's Game 3. "You don't match up good. These are the best teams left. The best players in the world, and these are the best the world has to offer and the best players right now, teams, the American League has to offer.
"So everybody is very capable. Everybody's got strengths and weaknesses and we're just excited and honored to be a part of it."
The Orioles rotation, which will be given the rest of this week off, is anyone's guess. The only pitcher who did not make a start, due to the sweep, was right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. The O's, who plan to fly back to Baltimore on Monday, will take some time to see how guys could slot up before making any decisions.
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.