Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This is a Yankees-Orioles series most fans would prefer to forget. Baltimore flashed its young talent and won the series, taking Thursday’s finale in a dominant fashion.

It was a bad showing for the Yankees, who recently came off a five-game winning streak. They remain third in the AL East and seven games behind the first-place Rays. Baltimore sits three games back in second place.

Even with Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson out of the lineup and key players underperforming, it’s easy to get worried about this Yankees team getting streaky again.

Some takeaways:

Small birds no more. Much like the Rays, the Orioles’ recent run of success is thanks to a soft schedule. That said, their record against playoff teams is a respectable 9-6, including a sweep of the tailspinning Blue Jays.

A lot more went wrong for New York this series than went right for Baltimore, but Brandon Hyde’s Orioles are a different team. They have fight in them and are in a position where not only the playoffs are in sight, but maybe the AL East crown. Next time, the Yankees might be better prepared for them.

Nestor Cortes is mortal. We’ll delve deeper into this in the future but Cortes’ sharp regression has been a brutal wakeup call for the Yankees. His meltdown on Wednesday upped his ERA to 5.30 in a game he otherwise dominated. Cortes’ ERA in May is an ugly 5.91.

Luis Severino’s return boosts the rotation but we’ve discussed several times how overtaxed the Yankees’ bullpen already is. Gerrit Cole is in his own rough spell on the mound. If Cortes can’t be the secondary ace he was last year, then the Bronx Bombers could be in trouble. Particularly since pricey free agent Carlos Rodon still has no timetable for a return.

It’s lonely at the top. Gleyber Torres should at least be proud of his own performance in the cities. He hit .416 in the series with two home runs. The problem was everyone else in the upper half of the Yankee lineup didn’t produce much behind him.

Aaron Judge’s epic game-tying home run on Tuesday was his only hit in the series. Anthony Rizzo had three hits the same day, but was 1 for 9 the next two games. DJ LeMahieu is 3 for his last 26 and his slump stands out more in a shorthanded lineup.

The Yankees rank 22nd in MLB with a .237 team batting average. It’s truly a sad state of affairs when the best news on the horizon is Josh Donaldson starting another rehab assignment.

Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny

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.