I want you to imagine, just for one second, that on April 1st someone would've told you that by September 26th, Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen would both have 30 home runs and Garrett Jones would have 25. After you had some time to process that information, that same person would tell you that Wandy Rodriguez would have five wins as a Pittsburgh Pirate on that same date.
What would you assume the Pirates record would be through 154 games? What kind of narrative for the season would you have written in your head, knowing nothing else about 2012? How giddy would you be about Pedro's 30 homers? Would you even bother to ask if he got his strikeout rate under 30%? How would you explain Wandy? Would you just assume McCutchen was an MVP candidate with those 30 homers or would you want to know more?
I'm not asking these questions to try and remove context to make it seem like the Pirates have had a good season ("Context is everything," Chuck Klosterman once wrote, and he was right). Instead, I'm just illustrating what a supremely weird season this has been for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The things we thought were important in spring training turned out to matter a little bit less than we thought they would. Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones have hit 85 home runs between them (at least!) and that's still not enough to get the Pirates over .500. Who any part of that sentence coming just a few months ago?