ESPN’s Buster Olney on the Orioles-Yankees rivalry

The Orioles turned around several years of losing to the Yankees in 2012, the year they ended their long playoff drought.

After going 5-13 against New York from 2009-11, the Orioles went 9-9 vs. the Yankees in the regular season last year. They lost the first four games the teams played and are 12-8 in the last 20 regular season games.

The teams have split six games this season with New York scoring 22 runs to the O’s 20.

ESPN’s Buster Olney, who will be in town this weekend for the network’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast from Camden Yards, saw a moment late last year when the Orioles and their fans began to take back the Yard from New York.

“I think the moment you sort of felt a shift - I just remember it so distinctly because for years Camden Yards had been Yankee Stadium south - there was a moment last September and I think it was (Manny) Machado who hit a three-run homer in the first inning. The crowd there just erupted. That is when it felt like ‘OK, we’re back,’ ” Olney said.

“I think what is so unique about the division right now is every team is trying to find its own identity. Both the Yankees and the Orioles are right at the forefront of that. It feels like when you watch the Yankees that they are fighting for their lives right now, to be 22nd in runs scored out of 30 teams.”

The Yankees averaged 4.96 runs per game last season and are at 3.87 now. They rank 12th in the AL in runs scored and rank last in baseball with just 56 runs since June 7. After leading the majors in homers last year (with 245 to the O’s 214), New York ranks 11th in homers this season and 14th in batting average.

“I think the Orioles are trying to get some ledge of starting pitching that they can hang on. It feels like this weekend, there is a lot at stake,” Olney said.

What is your take?: How will the O’s fare in their big series this weekend with New York? By the way, more is coming from my interview with Olney later this weekend as he talks about Manny Machado, the Dan Duquette-Buck Showalter relationship and several other topics.

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