At least on Friday, anyway, there will not be any “What If?” conversations about the 1994 Expos. It’s all good, in fact. They showed how tough they can be in the second iteration of the Dream Bracket, defeating the World Series champion '90 Reds in seven games to advance to
At least on Friday, anyway, there will not be any “What If?” conversations about the 1994 Expos. It’s all good, in fact. They showed how tough they can be in the second iteration of the Dream Bracket, defeating the World Series champion '90 Reds in seven games to advance to play the World Series champion '79 Pirates in the Round of 32.
The Expos are one of 64 teams, including three Negro Leagues teams and two of the all-time squads from each of the 30 franchises, taking part in Dream Bracket 2: Dream Seasons. 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).
• Box scores and game summaries | Full bracket and info | Complete Dream Bracket 2 rosters
Who can forget that magical Expos team? They were a Major League-best 74-30 when the players’ strike put an end to the season in August. There were hardly any outs in that starting lineup, starting with Marquis Grissom, who often came home because of the power of Larry Walker and Moises Alou. That pitching staff wasn’t bad, either, led by a young Pedro Martinez and Jeff Fassero.
Putting their skills against the best of the rest, the Expos topped the 1990 Reds in the seventh game of this series at Olympic Stadium, where Montreal scored early to top a Cincinnati team that featured José Rijo, Eric Davis and Barry Larkin.
In the next round, Montreal will play the 1979 Pirates of “We Are Family” fame. That fun club had a lot of lumber in lineup, including Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Bill Madlock. The bullpen was anchored by sidearmer Kent Tekulve, who collected 184 saves in his career.
But before that matchup gets underway on Wednesday, here's what Montreal did against the Reds to advance:
Game 1: Reds 4, Expos 2
Rijo proved to be too much for Montreal in the opener, allowing just two runs in 6 1/3 innings without walking a batter. The Nasty Boys -- Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble -- took over and dominated the rest of the way. Expos right-hander Ken Hill wasn’t bad, lasting six innings and allowing three runs. Hill found himself in trouble early when he allowed a two-run homer to Davis in the opening frame.
Game 2: Expos 5, Reds 1
Martinez’s dominant performance helped the Expos even the series at 1-1. He allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings and struck out nine. Martinez’s only blemish occurred in the eighth inning, when he allowed an RBI double to Billy Hatcher. Reliever Mel Rojas replaced Martinez and blanked the Reds the rest of the game.
Game 3: Expos, 3, Reds 1
Montreal’s powerful starting pitching took away the Reds’ home-field advantage as Fassero held Cincinnati to one run in eight innings. His only blemish occurred in the fourth inning, when Larkin scored on a Davis single. Fassero’s run support came in the early innings, starting in the first, when the Expos took a 2-0 lead off left-hander Tom Browning. Alou scored the first run on a Walker double, while Walker was sent home on a Wil Cordero single.
Game 4: Reds 9, Expos 7
It was a slugfest between the two clubs in Game 4, with the Reds tying the series. Expos left-hander Butch Henry was roughed up early, allowing three runs (two earned) in four innings before Kirk Rueter allowed one run in two innings. But then the Expos took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh when Walker hit a grand slam off Charlton. But Charlton ended up with the victory as Cincinnati answered with five runs in the bottom of the frame. Expos reliever Jeff Shaw couldn’t get anybody out as he allowed all five runs (three earned). In the ninth inning, however, Cordero made the game close off Dibble when his double drove in two runs, but it was not enough.
Game 5: Expos 13, Reds 9
It was a slugfest for the second day in a row, but this time it was Montreal who prevailed to take a one-game lead in the series. The Expos collected 15 hits, with Grissom responsible for the biggest one. With the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, Grissom tripled off Charlton to break a 2-2 tie. The following inning, the Expos scored more five runs. With Tim Birtsas on the mound, Mike Lansing had a two-run double, while right-hander Scott Scudder allowed RBI hits to Sean Berry and Grissom. Closer John Wetteland picked up his second save of the series, though he allowed two runs in the process.
Game 6: Reds 7, Expos 3
Left-hander Danny Jackson shut down Montreal for 6 2/3 innings as the Reds tied the series at 3-3. He became the winning pitcher when Cincinnati scored at least one run in each of the final four innings. Paul O’Neil highlighted the scoring with a two-run double off reliever Tim Scott in the ninth inning. Martinez ended up the losing pitching after allowing one run in five innings.
Game 7: Expos 5, Reds 4
The Expos advanced to the next round after a close game at Olympic Stadium. After three innings, they had a 4-1 lead against Browning, thanks to RBI singles by Grissom, Webster and Lansing. Fassero was cruising until the fourth, when Davis and Todd Benzinger hit solo shots to make it a one-run game. But Cliff Floyd ended up driving in the game-winning run an inning later when he scored Grissom with a double. It became a one-run game in the seventh inning when Shaw allowed an RBI single to pinch-hitter Bill Doran, but Wetteland and Gil Heredia shut down Cincinnati the rest of the game.
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.