July 14 marks the date of the 86th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It also marks the halfway point of the 2015 MLB season. There has been a lot of baseball played and a lot more still to come, but this is the perfect opportunity to take a look at 10 of the best MLB GIFs 2015 hits, plays, performances and even blunders that we’ve seen so far.
1. April 6th: Sonny Gray Nearly Pitches No-Hitter on Opening Day
The Oakland Athletics had lost the last 10 of their Opening Day games. This season, Sonny Gray and the A’s bats put an end to that in a big way. Aside from trampling the Texas Rangers 8-0, the pitcher nearly hurled what would have been only the second Opening Day no-hitter in MLB history. Gray had the no-hit bid going into the 8th inning, until Ryan Rua slapped a single into left field.
Despite missing the no-hitter, Sonny Gray was ace-that-pop-quiz-on-the-first-day-of-school kind of good. And it helps when your offense puts up some big numbers.
2. May 2nd: Two Games End in Weird Walk-offs
There’s a lot of ways to end a baseball game, but on the first Saturday, two games ended in one of the wackier of ways. First, we have the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels trailed by one run in the 9th inning. They had runners on the corners and two outs when Matt Joyce’s hard groundball hit baserunner Taylor Featherstone (who was more of a stone than a feather in this scenario) on his journey from first to second. Ball game over.
Just a few hours later, lightning struck again. The Arizona Diamondbacks trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-6. With a runner on first and two outs, pinch-hitter David Peralta grounded up the middle for what could have been a single and put the base runner, Jordan Pacheco to third base. Unfortunately, Pacheco, like Featherstone, had some lead feet and deflected the ball as it passed by his feet and allowed the Dodgers to clinch the win.
The moon must have been especially low over California that day.
3. May 13th: Corey Kluber Tells Fielders to Take the Day Off, Fans 18 Hitters
May 13th was a very easy day if you were an infielder or outfielder for the Cleveland Indians. All you had to do was sit back and watch Corey Kluber do most of the work. He struck out 18 St. Louis Cardinals, recording two thirds of the total outs for the day by himself. His 18th strikeout was a 94 MPH fastball that blew past Mark Reynolds at the end of the 8th inning.
4. May 21st: Flying Grichuk Turns Two.
It’s not easy to make a diving grab and it’s not easy to turn a double play. It’s even harder to do both in the same play, unless you’re the incredible, flying Randal Grichuk.
After sacrificing his body to the ground to make the catch, Grichuk pops up quicker than a frat bro’s collar and makes the one hop throw to first for the second out. Case made, Girchuk – you are super human. We know now.
5. June 5th: Giancarlo Stanton Plays Long Ball
Giancarlo Stanton is known for hitting homeruns. Coors Field is known for being home to some of the biggest homeruns. Pair the two together and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the longest homerun of the season. And that’s exactly what Stanton cooked up.
ESPN’s Home Run Tracker marks the hit’s true distance at 484 feet. Of the top 5 longest balls hit this season, Stanton is the proud owner of 5 of them and also shot a laser out of Dodger Stadium on May 12th.
6. June 9th: Giants’ Rookie Pitcher, Christ Heston, Throws No-Hitter Versus Mets
Chris Heston owns the first no-hitter of the 2015 Major League Baseball Season. Heston is the first rookie to achieve this feat since Clay Buchholz in 2007. He struck out 11 batters. The only blemishes that prevented him from reaching perfection were 3 hit batters.
The Giants won the game 5-0. Heston plated two of those runs, which would have been a great day in itself. No-hitters are becoming an annual occurrence for San Francisco. The team has thrown one every season since 2012.
7. June 16th: Prince Fielder Takes a Dive
In boxing, purposely losing a fight is commonly referred to as ‘taking a dive.’ No one believes that Prince Fielder was throwing the game, but he certainly took a dive. Fielder was trying to score on a single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately for Fielder, his foot clipped third base as he came around and sent him into a headfirst slide about 50 feet shy of his destination of home plate.
To his credit, he’s a big guy and takes his dive very gracefully and gets right back up. Don’t feel bad for laughing at Fielder, his teammates certainly didn’t.
8. June 16th: Brock Holt Gets a Jolt – Hits for the Cycle
Have you ever met a handy man that can seemingly fix everything? That’s a lot like Red Sox utility man, Brock Holt. He is known for being able to play nearly every position. He routinely fills in where he’s needed on the field – a jack of all trades, if you will. Oh, and did we mention he’s pretty good with a bat? On June 16th Holt hit everything. He started his day with a leadoff double to get his team started in the first inning. In the fifth, he’d swat a 2-out single into right-centerfield. Two innings later, he’d take Braves pitcher Julio Teheran yard for his second homerun of the year.
The Red Sox center-fielder, Mookie Betts, was just a homerun shy of hitting for the cycle in the same game.
9. June 16th: Orioles Hit 8 Homeruns Against the Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are not doing well this year. On an 8-game road trip, they lost every single game. It was the first time since 1883 (not a typo) that the Phillies had a winless road trip of at least 8 games. The 8th loss came at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, who set their own record. The Orioles brought Camden Yards to their feet by clubbing an astonishing 8 (seems to be a theme here) homeruns. It was the most homeruns by the club since 1954.
Manny Machado and Chris Parmelee hit two homeruns apiece. Jimmy Paredes, David Lough and Chris Davis also joined in on the slugfest. Chris Davis’ long drive soared over the right-field stands and landed on Eutaw Street. He now has the most homerun balls to reach that distance in Camden Yards history.
10. June 20th: Max Scherzer Plunks Jose Tabata, Passes on Perfection
National’s pitcher, Max Scherzer, came closer to a perfect game than perhaps anyone else who has come up short of the feat. With 26 outs of perfection and one left to go, Scherzer had the Pirate’s Jose Tabata in a 2-2 count – one strike away from throwing the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history. The pitch, instead of making history, spelled disaster and ran too close to the inside. It clipped Tabata on the elbow to break up the perfect game.
Scherzer still walked away with a no-hitter, getting Josh Harrison to fly out to left. On any other day, pitching a no-hitter would be one of the happiest days in a pitchers career, but we can’t help but feel like he may have been a little bummed about that one pitch.