After the end of the 15-game run of playing against Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Texas, tonight the Orioles begin a two-game series with the Royals in Kansas City.
To some it may seem like a brief break from a rough schedule and that tonight the Orioles are stepping down in class a bit in taking on K.C.
But the Royals are playing good baseball right now and feature some of the game's top young talent in players like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Hosmer has struggled, batting just .182, but Moustakas is batting .310 with an OPS of .911. He has now reached base in 22 straight games, batting .369 in that stretch.
Meanwhile the Royals, considered a young team on the rise over the winter, have gotten their act together after a terrible start that included a 12-game losing streak that left them at 3-14.
Since then, K.C. has won 12 of 18 games and is coming off of 3-1 and 7-4 wins over Texas. That two-game sweep of the Rangers should get the O's attention. The Royals have outscored their opponents 24-6 during a four-game win streak.
The Orioles are off to a great start and they have re-energized their fan base. Their play over the last 15 games has shown that they have earned their first-place standing, and should get them some notice around the league and with the national media.
But they are not so improved as to overlook any team at any time and must try to maintain the focus they have shown thus far even when taking on teams that didn't win 90 games last year.
The best teams don't have many letdowns and we'll see if the Orioles handle their business in K.C. in the same manner they just handled themselves against some of the AL's best clubs.
A major league season doesn't allow much time to sit back and enjoy what you have done. You have to keep pushing and the schedule is unforgiving.
So here comes the O's next test: A good, young K.C. club that is playing some of its best baseball of the season as the Orioles hit town.
Where the O's rank right now in MLB:
* 1st in homers
* 1st in saves
* T-2nd in team wins
* 5th in OPS
* 6th in runs scored
* 10th in batting average against
* 11th in team ERA
* 13th in batting average
* 27th in fielding percentage