Mains: The biggest World Series upsets

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on October 26, 2017:

The 1987 Twins are a famously not-great team to win the World Series. They ended a 63-year championship drought for the Washington/Minnesota franchise, but they didn’t have a great regular season. They won the AL West with an 85-77 record that would’ve been fifth in the AL East, trailing the 98-64 Tigers, 96-66 Blue Jays, 91-71 Brewers, and 89-73 Yankees.

Further, the Twins were outscored during the regular season. They scored 786 runs (eighth in the 14-team American League) while giving up 806 (sixth-most). The average American League team scored 4.90 runs per game in 1987; the Twins scored fewer (4.85) and gave up more (4.98). Yet they beat the Tigers handily in the ALCS, four games to one, and topped the Cardinals in a seven-game World Series.

That got me thinking. This year’s World Series has two fairly evenly matched teams. If the regular season had ended at the All-Star break, there would have been no question that the Dodgers and Astros were the class of their respective leagues. The 61-29 Dodgers led the NL by 7.5 games and the 60-29 Astros were 10 ahead of the Red Sox in the AL. They each cooled down after the break, but both won over 100 games. Either team winning wouldn’t be an upset.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 26, 2017. Last Updated: October 26, 2017.