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Beside The Points For Thursday, May 10, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Marc-Andre Fleury is outstanding

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is in the middle of one of the best ever playoffs for a goalie, pitching four shutouts in his first 10 starts. There have been 14 goalie-seasons since ’79 where a player posted four or more shutouts in a playoff run, and in six of those fourteen seasons the goalie’s team went on to win the Stanley Cup. [FiveThirtyEight]

Loose and improvisational lineups in Cleveland

Cleveland’s most used lineup in the playoff series against the Pacers and Raptors was George Hill, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, LeBron James and Kevin Love. Those five men were on the court together for a collective 110 minutes. During the regular season, those five players were on the court together for zero minutes. This could be one indication of how the barely-50 win regular season Cavs have turned into an unstoppable juggernaut, mainly because they Ship of Theseus’d this one. [FiveThirtyEight]

Iceland made great once more

Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, who “Game of Thrones” fans may recognize as the enormous actor behind Ser Gregor Clegane, has won the World’s Strongest Man competition in the Philippines last weekend. Bjornsson is the first Icelander to win since 1996, bringing the title home to a nation that once dominated the strongman competition when Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Magnus ver Magnusson won 8 contests in 11 years in the ’80s and early ’90s. [The New York Times]

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

New York may have a home game in OWL championships

The NYXL, New York’s team in the Overwatch League, is an early favorite to take the inaugural championship, with two stage final victories, a 23-7 match record, and a +68 map differential. Here’s some more good news: the July championship is scheduled to take place on their home turf, with Brooklyn’s Barclays Center tapped as the host of the two-day championship weekend. [ESPN]

Players Tournament is the real golf competition

An average PGA Tour player has no better than an 0.18 percent win probability at any of the majors from 2011 to 2017. The Players Tournament is a much stronger field than the majors, some of which allow club professionals, former winners and amateurs to compete. The Players Tournament is way more exclusive, which forbids amateurs, club pros, sectional qualifiers, and caps winners at five years of subsequent invitations. The average PGA player had no better than a 0.12 percent win probability at the Players Championship in all but a single year over the same period. [FiveThirtyEight]

Position players get it

An MLB.com survey of 35 position players and 35 pitchers asked them which stats they analyze come the end of the season to evaluate their own performance. Looking at position players, 16 out of 35 identified on-base plus slugging (OPS) and on-base percentage (OBP) as their preferred metric, which is a pretty remarkable win for baseball nerds. [Deadspin]


Some personal news, though, before we get to the big number: I’m leaving FiveThirtyEight to start a forthcoming daily morning newsletter, Numlock News, and work on other exciting projects. Beside the Points will absolutely continue, but if you’ve been a fan of my run, please subscribe to my new newsletter!


Big Number(s)

92 percent

Rafael Nadal is ridiculously good on clay. Heading into this week’s tournament in Madrid, he had won 46 clay court sets in a row, annihilating the previous record of 35 consecutive wins on clay. Moreover, his overall record on clay prior to this event was 401-35, a 92 percent win percentage. In the Open Era no other tennis star came close to that on any surface. Bjorn Borg got closest, with 86 percent wins on clay. [FiveThirtyEight]

Leaks from Slack:

kyle:

the mets batted out of order in the first inning?

neil:

Yup

colleen:

that is… very mets-y

neil:

Yup.

colleen:

what’s the rule on that? are they both out?

ah, here’s an explainer:

The Mets gave the umpires the wrong lineup and were penalized for batting out of order

Predictions

Oh, and don’t forget
Breaking Baseball is fun

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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