What Andrew McCutchen has done to this point in the 2012 season almost defies adjectives.
Even with his rare 0-for-4 Wednesday in the 9-6 victory at Colorado, the Pittsburgh Pirates' All-Star center fielder is batting .369 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI. From May 5 onward, he's batting .400. It's been one of the greatest offensive stretches in the 126-year history of the franchise, and that's no small praise in the context of Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, Ralph Kiner and many other Hall of Famers.
"What you're seeing is special," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We started to see it in the first half last year. He was tremendous for us, and then he kind of lost his way pulling the ball and swinging for the fences in the second half. Now you're seeing him stay within himself, hit the ball to all fields."
The best part for the Pirates and the fans who put up with any or all of the 19-year losing streak that remains intact is this: McCutchen is 25, and he's not going anywhere for a long time. He's signed through 2018 thanks to the six-year, $51 million extension achieved in spring training.
Moreover, he's genuinely delighted to be part of the team's resurgence.
"I've been through a lot of the bad, and this is a lot better, I'll tell you that," McCutchen said. "We've still got a long way to go, a lot of work ahead, but it's fun to be part of it."