Colton Cowser and Ryan Mountcastle talk about the Yankees series

Coming off a series loss to Oakland and preparing to face a Yankees team at Camden Yards that scored 15 runs each the last two days, the Orioles have to quickly move on from their tough weekend with the Athletics.

“Yeah, absolutely,” outfielder Colton Cowser said this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “You have to have a short memory in this league. Got the Yankees coming to town, so it’s good to have a short memory and get on to the next one.”

Added Ryan Mountcastle: “It’s a new series and new day. We’re excited to get this series going and, hopefully, get some wins.”

It’s a battle for first over the next four days in Baltimore with New York (19-10) on top of the division by one game over the Orioles (17-10).

The Orioles are 3-0 in American League East games with a series sweep at Boston. New York has gone 5-4 in two series versus Toronto and one with Tampa Bay.

“Should be exciting,” said Cowser, who is batting .310 with an OPS of 1.037. “Four-game set against these guys, looking forward to it. Saw their box scores a couple of games. Haven’t paid a crazy amount of attention to it, but seems like they are swinging the bat well and it should be an exciting series.”

If the Orioles take three of four or better, they would be in first place when this weekend arrives.

But it is also just April and there will be a long season left when this series is over.

“Every game is important," Cowser said. "That is how we’re taking it this year, one game at a time. We are looking to get back on track, but I don’t think we’ll make it a bigger deal than it is. We have 162 of these things and every game is important.”

The Orioles went 7-6 against New York last year. But the Yankees have lost just one series thus far this year (that to Toronto in mid-April) and they are 7-1-1 in series play.

“It’s a pretty big series. They’ve got a really good team over there and they’re playing well. Excited to get it going,” Mountcastle added.

The first two batters in the Orioles lineup, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, are hot right now.

Henderson has three homers his last five games and six in the last 12 games, and in that span is batting .353 with a 1.118 OPS.

Rutschman has a nine-game hitting streak riding, during which he is batting .390 with a 1.039 OPS.

“It means a lot (to have them hot),” said Cowser. “Those guys are at the top of the order, and when they are swinging the bat well it feels like the whole lineup gets going. They are kind of the catalysts and we feed off of them. But this lineup is deep and, really, anyone can get us going."

Rutschman had an on-base percentage of .492 in 13 games against the Yankees in 2023. Only three Orioles hitters have bested that mark (minimum 50 plate appearances) since the team moved to Baltimore: Gene Woodling (.554 in 1958), Bob Nieman (.547 in 1956) and Frank Robinson (.500 in 1970).

When the teams know each other as well as the Orioles and Yankees do, what are difference-makers in such a series?

“Just small things. Baserunning and trying to swing at the right pitches and trying to work good at bats,” said Mountcastle. “You know, just play the game hard.

“Couple of years ago, we were not the greatest (team), and now it’s always a big matchup when they come to town. Always a lot of fun.”

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