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Why Relief Pitchers Need A Better Stat Than The Save

Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (April 18, 2017), we’re joined by FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver for a discussion of why he thinks the save ruined relief pitching — and the new statistic he designed to improve it. Next, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon, lead science writer Christie Aschwanden drops by to talk about whether we’re getting closer to seeing a marathon finished in less than two hours. Plus, a significant digit on fouls in the NBA playoffs.

Here are links to what we discussed:

  • Check out Nate’s piece on the goose egg, the metric he developed to revolutionize relief pitching.
  • columnist Joe Posnanski looks at how saves evolved from stat to game-changer.
  • Can science help runners break the marathon’s two-hour barrier? FiveThirtyEight chats with experts about the possibilities.
  • Kathrine Switzer, 70, the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon, ran it again this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her achievement.

Significant Digit: 15, the number of free throws the Memphis Grizzlies shot in Monday night’s playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs, who shot 32. Although Grizzlies coach David Fizdale blamed the refs in a postgame press conference, FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner points out that his anger may not be entirely justified.