The roller-coaster ride that was Pittsburgh Pirates' offense in 2012 remains one of the defining narratives of last season's campaign. The dramatic and abrupt changes in offensive productivity were unlike anything I can remember witnessing from a team that I've followed closely. Over the course of a long season, all teams go through hot and cold stretches, but the extreme nature of the Pirates' streaks were jarring. To refresh our memories, let's quickly look at the three unique manifestations of the Pirates offense in 2012:

From April 6 to May 23 the Pirates offense was, well, historically offensive. Over the first 44 games of the season they posted a .217/.266/.346 slash line and averaged a paltry 2.86 R/G. Thanks to a pitching staff that limited opponents to 3.63 R/G and a good dose of luck in close games ( calculated the Pirates' "Luck" score at 4 during this stretch, highest in the National League), the Pirates kept their heads above water and rode out the slump to a respectable 20-24 record.

Starting on May 25 the mid-season offensive resurgence began. Over the next 66 games, the Pirates posted a .267/.328/.451 slash line and averaged 5.0 R/G. That works out to increases of .050 in batting average, .062 in OBP, .105 in SLG and 2.14 R/G. By August 8 the Pirates had reached what would be the high-water mark of the season, as their record stood at 63-47 and they had won 43 of their last 66 games.