Yaz, Rocket star in Sox's Dream Bracket win

April 20th, 2020

BOSTON -- Ever wonder what it'd be like to see all the greatest Red Sox players of all time in the same lineup?

We are starting to see what that could look like via a Dream Bracket simulation -- run by MLB in conjunction with Out of the Park Baseball.

The MLB Dream Bracket is a 32-team best-of-seven simulation featuring all-time teams for each of the 30 current Major League franchises, as well as teams consisting of Negro Leagues Stars and 25 & Under Stars. The 26-man rosters for each of the teams, compiled by the MLB.com beat reporters, consist of 15 hitters and 11 pitchers.

For the simulation, players are rated using the average of their three best seasons on a single team. Rosters were constructed with balanced depth to specifically compete in a simulated regulation game.

So far, it is going well for the Red Sox, who survived a valiant effort by the Rangers in the first round and prevailed in seven games.

In real life, the 2004 Red Sox are the only team in history to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series. In this simulation, the Rangers nearly turned the trick against the all-time Red Sox greats, winning Games 4, 5 and 6 to force Game 7.

With Game 7 at Fenway Park locked in a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth, Carl Yastrzemski belted a grand slam to right against Kenny Rogers to lift the Sox to a 6-2 win. It would have been a sizable upset if Texas had prevailed. The Red Sox are seeded No. 3 in the 16-team American League bracket, while the Rangers are No. 14.

Jimmie Foxx was the star of the series for the Sox, slashing .440/.548/.840 with three homers and six RBIs. Roger Clemens went 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA.

The Sox will face the Blue Jays in the next round. Toronto prevailed in five games over the Twins in its first-round series.

Here is a game-by-game breakdown of how the Red Sox-Rangers series went down:

Game 1: Red Sox 3, Rangers 1

A tight pitchers’ duel between Pedro Martinez and Charlie Hough was tied, 1-1, going into the bottom of the sixth. It was David Ortiz who came up with the game-winning blast -- a two-run shot to right on a 3-2 pitch by Hough with two outs. Foxx set up Ortiz with a two-out single. After setup man Craig Kimbrel worked out of some trouble in the eighth, closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to end it. Koji Uehara earned the win with 1 2/3 sparkling innings, including three strikeouts, out of the ‘pen.

Game 2: Red Sox 15, Rangers 4

A matchup between all-time great pitchers was a mismatch on this night at Fenway. Boston’s Cy Young gave up 10 hits, but just one run. All-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan, however, endured a pounding, as the Red Sox tagged him for eight hits and eight runs over four-plus innings. Boston turned the game into a blowout with a six-spot in the fifth that chased Ryan. A two-run double by Foxx was the big blow. Wade Boggs had a monster game (3-for-5, two runs, 4 RBIs) in the leadoff spot. Dustin Pedroia smashed two doubles and scored three runs.

Game 3: Red Sox 8, Rangers 3

The series shifted to Globe Life Field in Arlington, but the misfortunes of the Rangers continued. Texas did get some early momentum on a two-run homer in the bottom of the first by Ruben Sierra off Clemens to break a scoreless tie. From there, it was all Red Sox, who broke it open with a five-run rally in the seventh that included a two-run double by Carlton Fisk. Nomar Garciaparra scored twice and had three hits, including a double. Big lefty Babe Ruth (what curse?) recorded the final four outs to preserve the win for Clemens.

Game 4: Rangers 5, Red Sox 4

The Rangers prevented the indignity of being swept with a thrilling victory that was made possible by a two-out solo homer by Ivan Rodriguez to snap a tie in the bottom of the eighth. It was a 408-foot bullet to left-center on a 1-2 pitch. Pedroia and Mookie Betts both had three hits in a losing effort for the Sox.

Game 5: Rangers 4, Red Sox 2

There would be no celebrating for the Red Sox in enemy territory. Texas sent the series back to Boston on the strength of Hough’s knuckleball, which limited Boston to two runs over seven innings. Hough struck out six and slightly outpitched Martinez, who struck out eight and allowed three earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. Adrián Beltré broke a 2-2 tie with a one-out, RBI single against Martinez. The Rangers tacked on an insurance run when Fisk made a throwing error to second base trying to catch Beltré stealing. Foxx again came up big, ripping a two-run homer for Boston’s only runs.

Game 6: Rangers 9, Red Sox 6

Sensing they were on the cusp of history, the Rangers stormed into Fenway Park and put up a five-spot in the first inning, knocking out Young, who recorded just two outs. Ryan rode the early run support to victory, avenging his poor performance in Game 1 by allowing one earned run over five innings. At one point, the Rangers led, 8-2. Boston made a valiant comeback attempt and nearly got the deficit to 8-7 in the eighth, but Pedroia got thrown out at the plate by center fielder Juan Gonzalez after tagging from third on a lineout by Garciaparra. The stage was set for a dramatic Game 7.

Game 7: Red Sox 6, Rangers 2

Though it’s sometimes hard for a Game 7 to live up to the hype, this one definitely did. The upstart Rangers took a 2-0 lead off Clemens in the third. The Boston bats got shut out by Kevin Brown until the seventh, when Dwight Evans hit a sacrifice fly to score Yastrzemski, who came in as a pinch runner after Ortiz’s double earlier in the inning. A double by Williams in the eighth tied it up. Meanwhile, that pinch-running decision by manager Terry Francona an inning earlier might have won the series for the Red Sox. It was Yaz who came up again in the eighth and smashed that mammoth grand slam (estimated at 438 feet) on a 1-2 pitch by Rogers. Papelbon, who didn’t give up a run in the series, finished off Texas with a 1-2-3 ninth, vaulting the Sox into the next round.