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Monarchs down '19 Astros in Dream Bracket 2

@ladsonbill24
May 28, 2020

The 1942 Kansas City Monarchs' march through Dream Bracket 2 continued in Round 3, as legendary ace Satchel Paige pitched Kansas City past the 2019 Astros in six games. The Monarchs have now dispatched the 2005 White Sox, the vaunted 1998 Yankees and last year’s World Series runner-ups. Next up:

The 1942 Kansas City Monarchs' march through Dream Bracket 2 continued in Round 3, as legendary ace Satchel Paige pitched Kansas City past the 2019 Astros in six games. The Monarchs have now dispatched the 2005 White Sox, the vaunted 1998 Yankees and last year’s World Series runner-ups.

Next up: The 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners. But first, the Houston series.

With pitching staffs headed by Paige and Astros right-hander Justin Verlander, one would expect a series of pitching duels -- and there were a couple, in Games 1 and 5. But it was the Monarchs' bats that decided the series. Kansas City sluggers Willard Brown and Ted Strong teed off on the Astros, hitting a combined five home runs with 16 RBIs, while Newt Allen contributed key hits in Games 1, 5 and 6.

Box score and game summary

MLB Dream Bracket 2 consists of three Negro League teams, including the Monarchs, as well as the 1994 Expos and two of the best squads from all 30 clubs. The simulated competition, featuring many of the greatest teams in baseball history, is being produced by Out of the Park Baseball 21, MLB‘s most realistic strategy game (PC and Mac).

Full bracket and info

Kansas City will now face the 2001 Mariners, a team that won a Major League-record 116 games, but one that was surprisingly bested in five games in the American League Championship Series by a 95-win Yankee team that would go on to lose the World Series in a thrilling seven-game battle with the D-backs.

Edgar Martínez anchored the lineup in what was the Mariners’ first season without either Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriguez. Griffey had been traded to the Reds before the 2000 season, and Rodriguez signed with the Rangers as a free agent after the '00 campaign. But the Mariners added Ichiro Suzuki, who had a Major League-leading 242 hits and scored 127 runs in his first year in the league, and Bret Boone had a career year, posting an 8.8 WAR and knocking in an astounding 141 runs.

Complete Dream Bracket 2

Seattle’s pitching was underrated: The team had a 20-game winner in Jamie Moyer and three other pitchers -- Freddy Garcia, Paul Abbott and Aaron Sele -- who each won 15 or more games.

Game 1: Monarchs 3, Astros 2
In the matchup of aces, it was Paige that delivered the gem in Game 1, allowing just two early solo home runs over eight strong innings. José Altuve and Josh Riddick homered in the first and second inning, respectively. But Paige calmed down and didn't allow another runner to reach scoring position. Verlander allowed all three runs, as the Monarchs pushed up his pitch count, forcing him from the game in the sixth inning. The difference, in the end, was Allen’s solo home run in the third inning.

Game 2: Monarchs 8, Astros 3
The Monarchs earned a 2-0 lead in the series in Game 2 as they pounded right-hander Cole, who allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Monarchs had a 3-0 lead in the third inning on a three-run homer by Bonnie Sorrell. An inning later, Kansas City had a six-run lead thanks in part to a two-run double by Brown. Right-hander Hilton Smith picked up the victory by going seven innings and allowing two runs.

Game 3: Astros 12, Monarchs 3
Houston returned home and won its first game of the series by shellacking Booker McDaniel, who allowed eight runs in three innings. The Astros didn’t waste time, scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa. Then McDaniel was unable to get anybody out in the fourth as Houston scored six runs. It took reliever Norris Phillips to stop the bleeding before the Astros were able to get to him for two more runs. Astros right-hander Zack Greinke was solid for seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out nine batters.

Game 4: Astros 7, Monarchs 0
Left-hander Wade Miley was outstanding for seven shutout innings as the series was knotted up at 2 games apiece. The only two hits Miley allowed were to Brown and Bill Simms in the early innings. Counterpart Jack Matchett was doing well until the sixth inning, when the Astros scored seven unanswered runs. He could only record one out, while the Astros collected six hits that inning to tie the series up.

Game 5: Monarchs 2, Astros 1
The second pitching matchup between Paige and Verlander was very much like the first, with the Monarchs escaping with a one-run win to put them on the brink of advancing. Paige again pitched eight strong innings, this time allowing just one run on six hits. Verlander also pitched well, giving up two runs over six innings, but he could not go as deep as Paige. The game-winner again came from Allen, this time an RBI single to score Jesse Williams and put Kansas City up, 2-0. It was all they needed.

Game 6: Monarchs 7, Astros 5
With the series on the line, the Astros built, then blew, a 4-1 lead, and the Monarchs closed out the series in six games. The downfall for Houston occurred in the seventh inning, when Kansas City scored six unanswered runs. It started off with right-hander Ryan Pressly, who allowed a two-run double to Allen. Later in the inning, reliever Will Harris coughed up a three-run homer to Brown. Smith did enough, pitching seven strong innings, while Jim LaMarque notched his seventh save of the tournament.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.