'54 Tribe sweeps '05 Astros in Bracket 2 opener

May 22nd, 2020

CLEVELAND -- In the first round of MLB’s Dream Bracket 2: Dream Seasons, the 1954 Indians showed just how lethal the roster that led them to baseball’s best winning percentage since 1910 can be.

MLB Dream Bracket 2 consists of three Negro League teams, the 1994 Expos and two of the best squads from all 30 clubs, including the ’54 and ’95 Indians. 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).

In their first best-of-seven series, the 1954 Indians swept the 2005 Astros in four games on Thursday, led by Larry Doby’s two homers, Al Rosen’s 6-for-15 performance and lights-out starting pitching that combined for a 2.10 ERA. With the win, Cleveland advances to face the '85 Royals, who swept the '72 A’s. The 1995 Indians lost to the 1993 Blue Jays on Friday.

Game 1: Indians 3, Astros 1

Thanks to catcher Jim Hegan, the Indians were able to pull off a late-inning victory to support an eight-inning gem thrown by starter Early Wynn. Astros hurler Roger Clemens held the Tribe to just one run and struck out 10 in 6 1/3 frames, but with the score tied at 1 in the top of the ninth, Hegan knocked in two runs on a single to center off closer Brad Lidge.

Wynn picked up his first win of the simulation after allowing just one run on a solo homer and fanning seven, and Ray Narleski earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.

Game 2: Indians 6, Astros 2

The Indians fell behind, 1-0, in the fourth inning, but Doby was there to carry his team to the finish line. After an RBI double from Bobby Avila tied the game in the fifth, Doby hit his first of two home runs to take the lead. Craig Biggio took starter Bob Feller deep in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Tribe’s lead to one, but Doby answered again in the top of the seventh with a 422-foot homer to give Cleveland some breathing room.

Feller surrendered just two solo shots in 5 1/3 frames and the bullpen combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings to secure the victory.

Game 3: Indians 5, Astros 2

Having to face Doby and Rosen is dangerous for any pitching staff, and in Game 3, the Astros figured that out the hard way. With the game tied at 2 in the bottom of the seventh and with two men on, Doby doubled in a run and Rosen cleared the bases with a two-run single to assure starter Bob Lemon’s efforts were not wasted. The righty allowed two runs and struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings.

Game 4: Indians 9, Astros 5

The Indians’ offense wasted no time heating up in the deciding game. Avila launched a two-run homer and Dave Philley crushed a three-run blast in the first inning to knock Houston starter Brandon Backe out of the game after just one-third of a frame. Wandy Rodriguez came on in relief, and the Tribe put up four runs against him in the second.

The bats cooled off for the remainder of the game, but the early run support helped Mike Garcia cruise through six frames, allowing three runs (one earned) before Art Houtteman allowed two more runs in the final three innings.