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Beside The Points For Monday, May 7, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Justify a crown contender

Favorite “Justify,” who went into the Kentucky Derby with 3-to-1 odds of winning, defeated Good Magic by 2.5 lengths on Saturday. Justify, who is more accomplished at three years old than I am at age 27, never raced as a two-year-old, and is the first Derby competitor to win without racing at age two since 1882. [ESPN]

Family reunion goes well

Worth noting is that the Derby was very much a family affair this year, with 45 percent of the field competing against what people consider a half-brother. That’s the third-highest percentage in the 94 Derbys for which we have lineage data. Proud parents who we unable to watch from the stands because, you know, they’re horses, include Scat Daddy, father of four competitors including the winner, Curlin who sired three racers and Medaglia d’Oro who sired two. [FiveThirtyEight]

Albert Pujols hits his 3,000th

Friday evening Albert Pujols slammed his 3,000th hit, becoming the 32nd player (if you buy the stats behind Cap Anson in 1897) to join the 3,000 club. This is essentially a guaranteed ticket into the Hall of Fame as long as you are not Pete Rose. What’s more, Pujols did it with some of the lowest reliance on singles and some of the highest extra base hits plus walks in the club. [FiveThirtyEight]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Uprising suppressed

With a final score of 3-0 with a draw, the New York Excelsior defeated the Boston Uprising to win the playoffs of phase three of the Overwatch League, a professional gaming sports league. This is a repeat win for New York, who were the runners up in Phase One but won Phase Two. This ends a streak for Boston, a team that was undefeated in phase three. [Overwatch League]

True Freshman QBs all the rage

The average quarterback rating of true freshman quarterbacks in college football has been steadily rising over the past 10 years, increasing from low-40s in 2008 to low-50s today. This is because of a whole bunch of reasons; scouting starting earlier, early enrollment becoming more of an accepted trend, young quarterbacks developing faster thanks to early coaching, transfers enabling players to pick a place they can guarantee a start and the increasing adaptability of young QBs. [ESPN]

The Knicks aren’t young

When will the New York Knicks be competitive again? Who knows. With star Kristaps Porzingis out for potentially 10 months with an ACL tear, much attention has been paid to the young core of the Knicks organization. Still, that youthful selling point doesn’t really pan out when you notice the average age of a Knicks player was 27.1, nearly right on the money for the NBA league average 27.2. [ESPN]

Big Number(s)

17,192 pitches 98 mph or higher

The total number of pitches thrown in Major League Baseball that were 98 mph or higher in the 2017 season was 17,192, up from 11,451 just a year earlier and up from 4,618 in 2009. The number of speedy pitches has been steadily rising — as of Sunday there were 2,139 this season, on pace for well over 20,000 — and part of that is the different ways bullpens are managing pitchers. Recognizing that by the fourth time in a batting order, hitters get better at reacting to pitchers, GMs are putting in more pitchers and telling them to throw it as hard as they can. [ESPN]

Leaks from Slack:

neil:

Mets to designate Matt Harvey for assignment

colleen:

i guess bats were not his friend after all

neil:

Bats _loved_ his pitches though

colleen:

neil are we just making the same joke?

neil:

I think so, from 2 different directions

 

Predictions

Oh, and don’t forget
“The Other Cavaliers”

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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