Slow Out of the Gate
Much like the 2005 Pirates, the Bucs of 20 years ago got off to a slow start. Both teams were 4-11 after 15 games were complete. Both the 1985 team and the 2005 team struggled offensively at the onset of the season. Through 15 games, neither team was averaging even three runs per contest. While the 2005 team also had struggles on the mound - giving up 5.8 runs per game - the 1985 pitching staff was holding together fairly well, comparatively. The pitchers in 1985 were yielding 4-2/3 runs per game.
The 1985 team split the first six games and proceeded to win just one of the next nine they played. The seventh game was a heart breaker. Jose DeLeon was matched up against Ron Darling. Highly touted rookie Mike Bielecki had beaten long since forgotten Bill Latham the day before.
DeLeon was tough. He allowed one run (a double from George Foster followed by a Howard Johnson single in the second) in 8 innings of work. He allowed four hits and no walks while striking out 14...