Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There may soon come a time when the Yankees and Orioles are bitter rivals again, but that didn’t happen in the two AL East teams’ first series of 2023.

The Yankees entered Camden Yards, put up a strong effort in a Friday loss, and then won the next two games to take the series. The top of the lineup is performing as expected and both the middle and lower thirds are coming together. Pitching overcame a rough start Friday and took care of itself the rest of the way.

As for the Orioles, they won’t see New York again until a visit to the Bronx in late May. Baltimore’s young and hungry lineup might be more in sync then, but the team as a whole has leagues to go before matching up better with the mighty Yankees.

Hitting: The difference between the Yankees and Orioles’ lineups this series can’t be measured by numbers, nor talent. In New York’s lineup, everyone knows their role. Aaron Judge is the leader and everyone rallies behind him.

Baltimore’s, not so much. There’s talent in the lineup, but no clear leader or identity. This isn’t uncommon given the Orioles’ youth, but unsustainable long-term. Someone like Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, or even Ryan Mountcastle but fill the void left by Trey Mancini.

Speaking of Rutschman, he had himself a series against New York. Baltimore’s star switch-hitting catcher had six hits in the series, including four on Sunday. He’s batted a stout. 333 against the Yankees in his young career and could be a tough out for a long time.

Pitching: We all know pitching is a core strength of the Yankees and it was on full display this series. Jhony Brito offered five innings of one-run ball in his second career start and Nestor Cortes was sharp as usual. Clarke Schmidt is basically filling in until Luis Severino or Carlos Rodon comes back.

Meanwhile, the YES broadcast lamented all weekend how Baltimore’s ownership moved the wall back in left field to curb home runs and attract pitchers in free agency. The catch? Only ineffective journeyman Kyle Gibson signed. Grayson Rodriguez’s debut is a good sign, but all the rest of Baltimore’s pitching prospects are either a year away like Cade Povich or bullpen bound like DL Hall.

Even with an impact trade, the Birds’ pitching staff will trail the Yankees’ this year by a wide margin.

How do the teams match up? The core of this Orioles lineup has proven several times that it can catch the Yankees’ pitching on a bad day and make the game interesting. Maybe even steal a few wins along the way.

But Baltimore’s lack of pitching means they’ll once again be an also-ran in the AL East. Last year’s strong second half largely looked like overachieving and replicating/building off of it this year will prove a tall order. At this rate, it’s more likely they battle the Red Sox for last place.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.