With the Major League Baseball season being a 162-game marathon, every team strives to maintain consistency which hopefully leads first to being competitive and then to being a contender.
And with consistency the goal, every team also has the same approach: Win as many series over the course of the six-month season as possible. Managers for all 30 major league teams follow the edict, "Let's take two-out-of-three and move on."
Take a look at the starts to the last two seasons, and it's apparent progress is being made.
By taking three-out-of-four in their series in Chicago, the O's have won back-to-back series for the second time this season after taking two-of-three from Boston last week at Camden Yards. For the season, the Orioles have played nine series. They have won four, they have lost four, and they have split one.
Having won four of the first nine series might seem modest, but when you look back to last season, the progress being made is obvious.
The Orioles lost their first seven series in 2010 and the result was a 4-18 start. The 2010 O's didn't win a series until sweeping the Red Sox in three games April 30-May 2.
It took the 2010 Orioles 29 series before winning their fourth series of the season. The O's swept a four-game series in Texas just before the All-Star break, and in the 87th game of the season, they were assured of their fourth series victory of the season. Their record at the All-Star break in 2010 looked like this:
Series record: 4-23-2
In comparison, this year's Orioles squad was assured its fourth series victory on May 1st in Game 26 of the season.
2011 Record: 13-14
Series record: 4-4-1
The goal, of course, is to win every game. No professional player ever takes the field and is content with a loss. But over the course of the long season, every time a team takes two-out-of-three, it adds another game on the positive side of the record. And if you happen to sweep a series here and there, it pads the won-loss mark.
This year's Orioles team still has work to do. They are searching for hitting consistency with their regular line-up. They are awaiting the return of J.J. Hardy and Brian Matusz. And they play in the most competitive division in the majors.
But they are making progress. And each series victory is another step toward being a factor later on this season.