Per research done by Jay Jaffe in a recent piece for FanGraphs, the Pirates are in good company with their surprisingly successful start.

As it turns out, 14 of the past 15 Major League Baseball teams to win nine of their first 12 games -- a level the Pirates reached with their series win in Chicago last week -- have qualified for the postseason. A full 12 of those teams have won their divisions.

Historically speaking, it hasn't been as much of a sure thing as it has been recently. In the wild-card era that began in 1995, starting 9-3 or better has meant a postseason berth 31 out of 49 times (63 percent). Of course, the past six seasons have featured four wild-card teams instead of two, so it's generally easier to make the playoffs now than it used to be.

What's the point of all t...

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