Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Oct. 4, 2016), we preview this season’s MLB playoffs with FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur. First we take a look at the National League and wonder how the Chicago Cubs could be considered unlucky when they’ve been so good. Then we move to the American League to talk about why the Boston Red Sox have surprised everyone this season and how they are even better than their record suggests. Finally, we assess the state of the NFL after four games and debate whether the Carolina Panthers’ season might be over already after a 1-3 start. Plus, a significant digit on the USA’s win over Europe in golf’s Ryder Cup.
Links to what we discuss:
- On the eve of the playoffs, Rob Arthur said Major League Baseball is about to get random.
- Arthur also argued that the Texas Rangers can’t keep winning so many of their one-run games.
- Ben Lindbergh, at The Ringer, thinks the Red Sox are almost as good as the Cubs.
- Chase Stuart asks if it’s freak-out time for the Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals.
- Neil Paine writes about how the Chargers can’t stop failing late in games.
- Last year, Neil wrote that the Panthers were the worst team to ever start 11-0.
- Significant Digit: -119. That’s the combined under-par score for team USA at the 2016 Ryder Cup. They ended up beating Europe, 17 points to 11. The USA’s combined score at the last Ryder Cup in 2014 was 74 under par.