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1954 Indians flashback: Take two of three from Red Sox and sweep Senators

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After seventeen straight road games, the Indians headed home to take on the Red Sox and Senators.

Second Baseman Bobby Avila
Second Baseman Bobby Avila

After a whirlwind tour of Washington, Boston and New York, the Tribe had managed to grab just one more game in the standings. The eight games in seven days resulted in a 5-1 record and the only two ties of the season in back to back contests in Fenway. After a much needed day off, the Indians had the Red Sox and Senators come a calling.

July 27-29, 1954

July 27: Red Sox 3, Indians 6

July 28: Red Sox 1, Indians 2

July 29: Red Sox 10, Indians 2

Bob Lemon pitched another complete game in the opener, although he was far from sharp, ten hits and four walks. But he limited the damage to three solo runs with Jackie Jensen tagging him for a homer. Al Rosen and Vic Wertz got the Tribe out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Rosen hit his eighteenth homer in the third. Wertz hit a two run shot in the seventh to make it 6-2 and lead Lemon to his twelfth win.

Early Wynn also pitched a complete game in the middle game. He scattered eleven hits but struck out seven. The only Red Sox run was an RBI single by Teddy Ballgame in the fifth. Rosen doubled in Bobby Avila and Wertz followed with an RBI single to give the Indians the lead in the sixth.

The finale was a laugher, but not for the Indians. Bob Feller didn't get out of the second, giving up five runs, including a two run bomb by Williams. A three run shot by Jensen off Hal Newhouser made it 8-1 in the sixth. The offense didn't do much against Leo Kiely, stranding eight.

July 30-August 1, 1954

July 30: Senators 3, Indians 8

July 31: Senators 0, Indians 6

August 1 (game 1): Senators 1, Indians 3

August 1 (game 2): Senators 4, Indians 5

Art Houtteman almost didn't get out of the first, surrendering a quick three runs. But the offense batted around in the second, a two run double by Jim Hegan, a Houtteman RBI single, and another two run double by Rosen. Houtteman only gave up four more hits all game while Larry Doby crushed one in the fifth and Hegan added a two run bomb in the sixth.

Lemon was superb in the Saturday matinee. He pitched a three hitter in shutting out the Senators, with only one runner reaching second in the eighth. Doby hit a two run shot and Rosen followed with one of his own to make it a quick 3-0 score in the first. Two more in the second, RBI singles by Dave Pope and Doby made it 5-0 after two.

Wynn tried to match Lemon again in game one on Sunday. The only run was a solo shot by Tom Umphlett in the fifth. Wynn also struck out nine on the afternoon. The offense did its only damage in the sixth. A single by Doby, a groundout by Rosen and another single by Wertz plated each of the three runs. The offense only tallied five hits all game.

Mike Garcia went for both the doubleheader and series sweep in the nightcap. Doby singled home a run in the first, while pitcher Bob Porterfield threw one away to score another. By the sixth, Garcia had a 3-0 lead, but he faltered in that sixth inning. Four singles and a double plated four to give the Senators them their only their third lead in the series. Wertz tied it with a solo shot and Newhouser singled in the lead run in the seventh. Newhouser got the win by pitching three perfect innings.

Player of the Week

There were a number of position guys who had over a 1000 OPS, but nobody stood out with mind blowing stats. Dave Pope did hit 600/600/1200, but they were 6 singles in 10 at bats. The choice this week, goes to Bob Lemon. He pitched two complete games, including a shutout. He had a 1.00 ERA and gave up 13 hits, five walks and struck out nine.

Player Spotlight

Second Baseman Bobby Avila

Avila was profiled in our Top 100 series, landing at #26. 1954 was his best season of his darer. He led the league in hitting, at .341. He had career highs in homers (15) and runs driven in (67). He walked 59 times and struck out just 31 times. He led the league in sacrifices (19), made his second All Star game and finished third in MVP voting.

Summary

Another week with only one loss, increased the Indians lead to two and half games over the Yankees with the White Sox even further, seven games out. The homestand would conclude with visits by the Yankees and Athletics the following week.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

71

30

703

-

498

361

643

New York Yankees

70

34

673

2.5

544

398

639

Chicago White Sox

66

39

629

7.0

513

361

655

Detroit Tigers

45

56

446

26.0

388

426

457

Washington Senators

42

56

429

27.5

417

432

484

Boston Red Sox

41

58

414

29.0

437

194

444

Baltimore Orioles

36

67

350

36.0

345

464

368

Philadelphia Athletics

35

66

347

36.0

372

578

309