Leftovers for breakfast

The Orioles’ bats hadn’t even cooled Sunday afternoon and manager Brandon Hyde already was asked about the upcoming series against the Yankees. Fans hadn’t cleared the parking lots. Players hadn’t finished their showers and meals. Kids still ran the bases with music playing from “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid.”

(If you have young children or grandkids, you know.)

Under the sea is fun. Being under the Yankees is not. But the gap has closed to 1 ½ games with the Orioles going 4-2 on their homestand.

The Orioles are 22-12 against teams currently above .500. The Yankees hold the best record in baseball at 50-24 despite losing back-to-back games in Boston. The matchup in the Bronx comes on the heels of a series against a Phillies team that has the best record in the National League.

"We get a day off first, which is well deserved and needed for a lot of our guys," said manager Brandon Hyde, his immediate response to a question about going to New York.

Yeah, can the man enjoy the flyovers and tape-measure fly balls and another series win for just a few more minutes?

“To go at it the way they have, it's been a tough stretch and we played really well through a really tough stretch, and it doesn't get any easier but nobody's going to feel sorry for us,” he continued. “This is the big leagues. Now we're going to go to a real cool baseball environment and hopefully play well next series."

There, happy now?

“They’re playing great baseball,” said outfielder Colton Cowser. “I think that it’s the same kind of blueprint we just had this weekend. Pitching’s important. They’re going out there throwing out a lot of zeroes and it’s a dangerous lineup over there, so I think that, get off on the right foot with that. And hitting-wise, just continue to string together good at-bats and get it to the next guy is something that’s really important, as well.

“I think it should be fun. I think that any chance you go into Yankee Stadium, especially with the year they’re having, it’s going to be a really good environment.”

There are some really interesting pitching matchups, too. Albert Suárez, a life saver with all of the rotation injuries, opposes former Orioles Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes tonight. Cortes has registered a 2.45 ERA and 1.013 WHIP in 10 career games against them and struck out 66 batters in 51 1/3 innings.

The Yankees hadn't listed a starter for Wednesday night but Gerrit Cole was confirmed yesterday, working on regular rest after appearing in his third injury rehab game. And he’s opposing left-hander Cade Povich, 24, making his third major league start.

Again kid, welcome to The Show.

Asked how Povich has grown from spring training to now, pitching coach Drew French said, “I think you’ve got to look at the group that was responsible for acquiring him and then the group that was responsible for kind of raising him through our system. Hats off to them for that. Definitely saw a lot of growth between spring and now, but in between start one and two is probably the biggest jump. I just think in terms of like being comfortable, being able to kind of letting his shoulders sit down, kind of understanding the expectations and what it’s going to feel like.

“He’s an unbelievable talent and he’s got a maturity level that you don’t see out of many who are his age, so you know the future’s bright.”

The Orioles can’t ease Povich into competition at the highest level. They’ve got World Series aspirations. They can’t let his growing pains hurt their chances.

“When you’re on a really good team and the expectations are pretty high, I think that’s one thing that you just have to understand, sort of the broad versus kind of the micro,” French said. “He’s been really focused on what he needs to do every single day to get himself prepared to go face the Yankees next. I don’t think any of these guys see more than just a few inches in front of their face.”

The Orioles went 4-3 last season at Yankee Stadium and 7-6 in the series, and they won three of four earlier this season at Camden Yards. Their last three-game sweep in the Bronx came in 1986.

The final visit last season resulted in a 14-1 thrashing of the Yankees on July 6. Gunnar Henderson homered twice and went 4-for-7 with five RBIs. He had four hits in the first four innings. The Orioles finished with 20. Twenty of the first 30 batters reached base.

Here’s what I wrote that day:

NEW YORK – The crowd at Yankee Stadium had lost its last ounce of patience long before the 12th batter stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning. Angry at Luis Severino. Outraged by the sloppy play. Reduced to cheering a ground ball, sarcasm the only weapon of retaliation.

The Orioles threw an offensive party tonight in someone else’s house. Gunnar Henderson played host.

(Weird that they’re invited back.)

Henderson produced his first leadoff home run. He’s up to 10 now.

* One of the best interviews in the Orioles’ clubhouse happened Friday night after a tough 5-3, 11-inning loss to the Phillies.

Outfielder Austin Hays expressed his concern for Kyle Bradish, vowing to “say a lot of prayers” after his friend and teammate exited the game with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He talked about the other injured pitchers, saying, “These are our brothers in here.” He referenced the next-man-up mentality that really needs to be printed on t-shirts.

And perhaps most memorable, he took full responsibility for Alec Bohm’s tie-breaking, two-run double off Jacob Webb in the 11th.

The ball left Bohm’s bat at 105.6 mph, driven to deep left-center field with an expected batting average of .830. An extremely difficult play. But Hays beat himself up.

Here’s the quote:

“I have to make that catch. I was there, the route was there, my glove was there. I just didn’t make the catch. I have to make that catch. I expect that of myself. I know the team expects that of me. And I’m going to lose sleep over that tonight because I know that’s a catch that I can make. I’ve got to make that catch for Webby.”

I bring it up again because I asked Webb about Hays’ comment and how his teammates had his back.

“I know all the players on the field, they’re all trying to make the plays, they’re all going hard every time,” Webb said. “I also take responsibility. I could have made a better pitch. He put a good swing on it. Hays’ is going all-out. Just kind of tumbled the wrong way. It is what it is. It’s a tough game. You’re not going to make every play, you’re not going to make every pitch. You’ve just got to come back the next day and hope for the best.”

* Correction/clarification: Nick Vespi has been recalled four times and optioned three. Therefore, the Orioles can option him two more times before having to first pass him through waivers.

His inclusion on the Opening Day roster while Jacob Webb went on the paternity list counted. Serving as 27th man in St. Louis for the suspended game did not, which I also knew.

I miscounted while scrolling the transactions, which used the terms “recalled” and “optioned” rather than “added” and “returned,” as the Orioles wisely do. So yeah, it’s the transactions fault.

Assistant general manager Eve Rosenbaum called Vespi around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning with news of his latest promotion.

“It’s kind of been a reoccurring event for the last couple of weeks,” he said. “She gave me a call and said they were calling me up due to an injury. Super sad for Kyle (Bradish). I know he’s been having a heck of a year and bounced back from that injury. All the prayers for him.”

Vespi said he was ready to climb into bed and get some sleep when he saw Rosenbaum’s name appear on his phone. Another reason why a ballplayer can’t switch it to silent mode.

“It’s definitely a call you don’t want to miss,” he said. “I always keep the ringer on.”

Vespi is out of options next season, which removes him from his worn-out seat on the shuttle. But there’s always 2024.

“Just need to stay focused on my job and getting hitters out, wherever that may up. Up here, down there. Just stay focused with that stuff,” he said.

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