Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Nov. 1 , 2016), we take a look at the World Series and wonder if the role of the closer has changed forever after the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians started deploying their closers as long relievers. Then, we chat about Russell Westbrook’s amazing start to the NBA season and ask if teams led by point guards can win championships. Finally, we talk about Tom Brady’s return from suspension, and Neil Paine explains why there’s a 50/50 chance Brady would have won a Super Bowl on every team in the NFL. Plus, a significant digit about the Oakland Raiders’ penalties.
Links to what we discussed:
- Neil Paine says the Cubs’ comeback only gets harder from here.
- Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs says Cubs manager Joe Maddon Terry Francona’d Aroldis Chapman in Game 5 of the World Series.
- Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer writes that Russell Westbrook’s liberation tour is everything we wanted it to be.
- Neil Paine breaks down why Chris Paul has never gone far in the postseason.
- Neil also explains how Tom Brady’s return has made the Patriots that much better.
- Significant Digit: 23. That’s the number of times the Oakland Raiders were dinged for a penalty in their 30-24 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. That was the most penalties for one team in a single game since at least 1940 and the third-most penalty yards that any one team has racked up in a single game in that same span.
Also, remember to check the Hot Takedown feed on Thursday for the fourth installment of our documentary series Ahead Of Their Time. The series looks at coaches and players who did something radical for their era and were later proven right by analytics. The new episode is about the two women who invented the double-handed backhand. You can find the previous three episodes here.