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1954 Cleveland Indians (May 17-May 23): A perfect week

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After a long grueling week of eight games, the schedule makers provided the Indians with two days off this week. This home stand concluded with the Red Sox and Orioles visiting.

The Tribe entered this light week on a five game win streak after sweeping the Senators in a three game series and a double header from the Athletics on Sunday. The Red Sox came in for a pair and the Orioles for a four game series with a another doubleheader on Sunday.

May 18-19, 1954

May 18: Red Sox 3, Indians 6

May 19: Red Sox 3, Indians 5

Art Houtteman took the hill after a much needed day off on Monday. Unfortunately, he got too much rest as Ted Williams drove in one in the first and the Red Sox loaded the bases again in the second, plating two more. With Williams due up again, manager Al Lopez called on Bob Chakales to put out the fire, which he did when Williams flew out to right, keeping the score 3-0. Al Rosen homered to lead off the second and a sacrifice fly that same inning got the Tribe within one. Chakales retired Williams a second time with the bases loaded in the fourth to keep it 3-2. The Tribe had three singles in the fifth, but Chakales was thrown out at home and no runs were scored. Another homer by Rosen in and a walk to Larry Doby in the sixth chased Sox starter Bill Henry. George Strickland singled in Doby to take the lead. After Chakales dodged another bases loaded jam in the seventh, Rosen doubled in an insurance run in the bottom half. After two more baserunners allowed by Chakales, Hal Newhouser was summoned. He retired all five batters he faced to earn his second save.

The next day, Willard Nixon was scheduled against Bob Lemon. The Sox scored three in the second on a Williams double, a walk to George Kell, an error by Rosen and a triple by Milt Bolling. Rosen atoned for his miscue and more with a solo shot in the bottom half of the second and a two run single in the fourth. After that, both Willard and Lemon dueled with just seven baserunners until the eighth. Bobby Avila led off the eighth with a single and moved to second on an error by Bolling, from a Dave Philley grounder. Rosen walked to load the bases. Doby hit a deep enough fly ball to break the tie and Philley ended up scoring on Bolling's second error of the inning. Lemon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off his complete game.

May 21-23, 1954

May 21: Orioles 1, Indians 2

May 22: Orioles 3, Indians 4 (10 innings)

May 23 (game 1): Orioles 3, Indians 14

May 23 (game 2): Orioles 1, Indians 2 (12 innings)

The series opener was another classic pitching duel between Duane Pillette and Early Wynn. The Indians scored one in the third when AL Smith singled in Jim Hegan from second, but the Tribe left the bases loaded as Philley hit into an inning ending double play. Through eight innings, Wynn only allowed five baserunners on a two walks and three singles with no more than one in an inning. The Indians pushed across an insurance run in the eight when Marlin Stuart hit Smith, a sacrifice bunt by Bobby Avila and a base hit by Rosen. That run was needed when Dick Kryhoski led off the ninth with a homer. Gil Coan walked to put the tying run on, and after two outs, Vern Stephens singled him to second. But Clint Courtney lined back to Wynn and the complete game was in the books.

Saturday's game had Don Larsen take on Mike Garcia. The Indians squandered a first and third no out situation in the first when Philley lined out and Rosen hit into a double play. In the second, Doby was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice after another first and third no out situation. After six straight outs, the Orioles loadd the bases on a single, sacrifice, single and hit batter. Kryhoski doubled in a pair and a Bobby Young grounder made it 3-0 O's. In the bottom half, the Indians got two back on a bases loaded single by Rudy Regalado, but Doby was thrown out at third to end the inning.  Rosen knotted the score in the fifth with his tenth homer. Both teams had adequate chance, but ended up stranding lots of baserunners and the game went extras. The O's threatened in the tenth with a pair of baserunners, but Garcia managed to get out of it. Regalado led off with a single in the bottom half and was sacrificed over by Strickland. After an intentional walk to Hal Naragon, Larsen got Garcia to fly out, but Al Smith singled in Regalado for another walk off win.

The opening game on Sunday was a laugher. Bob Feller was staked to a quick 3-0 lead on a Rosen sacrifice fly and a two run double by Regalado in the first. An RBI double by Smith and a three run bomb by Philley in the fourth made it 7-0. The Orioles got three back in the sixth on  a Young sacrifice fly and two run shot by Sam Mele. But Dick Littlefield promptly let the Indians score two more to make it 9-3. An error and five consecutive singles in the eighth off Dave Koslo concluded the scoring and Feller got his complete game.

The nightcap was a wee bit tighter than the opener. Houtteman got his second start of the week and Bob Turley was his opponent. Houtteman got around a leadoff doubles in the second and fourth, and triples in the third and fifth. The Indians stranded a pair in both the second and third. Houtteman even got out of a second and third one out spot in the sixth. He finally cracked in the seventh when Jom Brideweser doubled in Young with two out. It apperaed the Tribe was going to get shut out until Rosen cranked his eleventh bomb in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up. Both Houtteman and Turley cruised through the tenth and eleventh innings, with just an Avila single the only blemish. Finally, in the bottom of the twelfth, a one out walk to Strickland caught up to Turley. After Hegan struck out for the second out, Houtteman ended the game himself with an RBI double to left.


There did not seem to be any transactions or moves this week.


A perfect week by the Tribe earned them a two and half game lead. The league itself had divided itself in half, with the White Sox, Yankees and Tigers with the Tribe and the rest in the bottom half of the league.

For the week the offense hit 296/376/414 with six homers and scored 33 runs in those six contests. They walked 27 times and struck out just 21 times. The pitching was even more impressive. Five complete games, a 2.02 ERA and a 1.069 WHIP.

Up next, a quick road trip to Chicago, and then the Detroit Tigers pay a visit to Cleveland.









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