1987 Twins vs 1965 Twins

Last year I used Diamond Mind software to simulate a tournament of the best teams in baseball history. Because I like to have an excuse to play video games, I thought I would take another stab at it, this time with great Twins/Senators teams of the past.

There are a few changes in format from last year. Rather than simply running through the tournament once and publishing those results, I wanted to try and remove some random chance. This tournament involved eight teams, paired using a loose seeding system more geared towards separating teams from the same era than anything else:

Round 1
1965 Twins
1987 Twins

1933 Nationals
2006 Twins

1969 Twins
1924 Nationals

1991 Twins
2002 Twins

The team I chose are not necessarily the best in franchise history. I wanted a sampling from different eras, though clearly the good years come in bunches. In some instances, I took the more well-known team over a better team that played in consecutive seasons. For instance, the 1988 Twins were a better team, but 1987 made the field instead.

Each series will be best-of-seven, and I will actually simulate 100 individual series for each round. Using the data from the 100 series, I will choose a single series representative of the most common outcome from the 100, and present that representative series here. First up: 1987 Twins at 1965 Twins.

Game 1 @ Met Stadium
Frank Viola and Jim Kaat dueled, an, after nine innings, the score was 2-2. With runners at second and third in the bottom of the tenth, Zoilo Versalles hit a sacrifice fly to left off of Jeff Reardon, scoring Earl Battey with the game-winning run. 1965 Twins lead 1-0.

Game 2 @ Met Stadium
Mudcat Grant held the 1987 lineup to just four hits in a complete game, 6-0 shutout victory. Zolio Versalles had a home run and two RBI for the 1965 Twins. 1965 Twins lead 2-0.

Game 3 @ Metrodome
The 1987 offense finally woke up in the late innings, scoring three in the seventh and eighth to break a 3-3 tie and win the game 6-3. Kent Hrbek had the biggest hit of the game, a two-run home run off of Camilo Pascual in the eighth inning. Les Straker pitched eight innings, allowing three runs on five hits, to earn the victory. 1965 Twins lead 2-1.

Game 4 @ Metrodome
The 1987 Twins got home runs from Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky in an 8-3 win at the Metrodome that evened the series at two games a piece. Bob Allison homered for the 1965 Twins in the losing effort. Series tied 2-2.

Game 5 @ Metrodome
Bert Blyleven gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched, including two home runs off the bat of Tony Oliva. A Tim Laudner three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth pulled the ’87 team within one, but it was not enough, as the ’65 Twins stole a game at the Metrodome. Jim Kaat earned his first win of the series. 1965 Twins lead 3-2.

Game 6 @ Met Stadium
The 1965 Twins scored five runs off of Joe Niekro in the third inning on their way to an 8-2 win in Game 6, and a series victory in six games. Tony Oliva hit his third home run of the series and had three RBI in the winning effort. Mudcat Grant went the distance to earn his second complete game victory of the series. 1965 Twins win 4-2.

Series MVP: Mudcat Grant 2-0 0.50 ERA 2 CG 10 K

Raw Data

The 1965 Twins won 64 of the 100 series simulated. The most common outcome was a victory in six, which occurred 21 times. Here is the breakdown:

1965 Twins in 4: 10 1987 Twins in 4: 1
1965 Twins in 5: 18 1987 Twins in 5: 9
1965 Twins in 6: 21 1987 Twins in 6: 16
1965 Twins in 7: 18 1987 Twins in 7: 7

Overall, the 1965 team won 329 games to 1987’s 250 (.568).

The 1965 Twins will either play the 1933 Nationals or the 2006 Twins in the second round.


4 Responses to 1987 Twins vs 1965 Twins

  1. Beau says:

    Why is Joe Niekro making a start? Why not just throw Dan Gladden out on the mound?

  2. Scot says:

    Funny story, that. I plugged in a three-man rotation for the ’87 Twins, but Les Straker threw 115 pitches in Game 3 and was not ready to go for Game 6. So the options for computer TK were Niekro and Carlton. He went with Niekro.

    I’m not sure whether or not computer Niekro had an emery board with him.

  3. Scot says:

    It’s worth noting that almost every time the ’87 Twins won the series, they won every Viola start. When they dropped a Viola game (as they did in Game 1 in the example above), their chances of winning the seven-game series approached zero.

  4. Beau says:

    As I’m sure it would have had Viola lost in the real 1987.

    I think if I were TK and my best starter left was Niekro, I’d throw Berenguer, Atherton, Frazier, and Reardon out there and tell them to split it up between them.

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