Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

MLB First-Half Superlatives

A look at some of baseball's best from the first half of the season.

Every single MLB team has surpassed the 81-game threshold, which means the 2016 season is already more than halfway through. It's been a wild one thus far, so we thought it'd be nice to remind you of some of the best things that happened on the baseball field this spring/summer. You're welcome.

Best game: Cubs at Nationals, June 15

Washington took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, only for Anthony Rizzo to give Chicago the lead with a homer, only for Wilson Ramos to send it to extras with an RBI single. The Cubs grabbed a run in the top of the 12th, but Jayson Werth ultimately clinched the game and series with a single in the bottom of the frame. The win probability graph for this game looks like the newest ride at Cedar Point.

After the 5-4 win, Werth unleashed an incredible (albeit profane) postgame interview that somehow made him even more of a cult hero among Nationals fans, as if his wildly unkempt beard and propensity for clutch hits weren't enough.

Here's the full highlight:

Best offensive performance: Kris Bryant, Cubs

On June 27 against in Cincinnati, Bryant was as locked in at the plate as anyone will ever be. He went 5-for-5 with three homers and two doubles, the only player to do so since 1900. He also drove in six runs in the 11-8 win, almost single-handedly pushing the Cubs ahead.

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/747621087094018048

(By the way, check out Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart on Bryant's third homer if you missed it the first time. Not only is his reaction superb, but the way he was set up, and the fact that Ross Ohlendorf actually hit that target, shows just how impressive Bryant's homer was.)

Best pitching performance: Max Scherzer, Nationals

Scherzer faced his former team, the Detroit Tigers, for the first time on May 11 at Nationals Park. It was a cute storyline, especially because former National Jordan Zimmermann was opposing him. But narratives soon gave way to history as Scherzer kept piling up strikeouts, eventually tying the 9-inning record with 20.

Scherzer did give up six hits and two runs (both on solo homers) in the game, so if you're a complete and total Game Score groupie, this isn't the right pick. But there's something to be said for how historic this was. Not only did Scherzer become just the fifth pitcher to fan 20 batters in nine innings, but he also threw the most strikes (96) of any pitcher to throw 120 or fewer pitches (he threw 119). 

Best defensive play: Steven Souza, Rays

Judging defensive plays is subjective by nature, so more than anything we have to rely on the "wow" factor. Let's just say this diving catch had a lot of that.


It's a play eerily similar to the one he made in 2014 to cap off Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter (back when both were Nationals), and although the moment wasn't quite as big, this was every bit as tough of a catch to make.

Best home run: Bartolo Colon, Mets

And it's not close.

At 42, Colon became the oldest player to hit his first career home run. Just over a week later, that feat was honored with a Guinness World Record. And just when you thought it couldn't get better, it did. This Topps special-edition card shattered company sales records.

https://twitter.com/toppscards/status/729335708335362049

Still three months to go

All of this, and we haven't even reached the All-Star break. In the coming months, fans can look forward to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, the July 31 trading deadline (although deals can still be made via waivers through August), September call-ups, and, of course, the pennant chase. It's going to be a blast. And maybe, if we're lucky, the impossible might happen again.

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Scout MLB Network Top Stories

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It's a play eerily similar to the one he made in 2014 to cap off Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter (back when both were Nationals), and although the moment wasn't quite as big, this was every bit as tough of a catch to make.

\n

Best home run: Bartolo Colon, Mets

\n

And it's not close.

\n

\n

At 42, Colon became the oldest player to hit his first career home run. Just over a week later, that feat was honored with a Guinness World Record. And just when you thought it couldn't get better, it did. This Topps special-edition card shattered company sales records.

\n

https://twitter.com/toppscards/status/729335708335362049

\n

Still three months to go

\n

All of this, and we haven't even reached the All-Star break. In the coming months, fans can look forward to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, the July 31 trading deadline (although deals can still be made via waivers through August), September call-ups, and, of course, the pennant chase. It's going to be a blast. And maybe, if we're lucky, the impossible might happen again.

\n

null","mobileBody":"

Every single MLB team has surpassed the 81-game threshold, which means the 2016 season is already more than halfway through. It's been a wild one thus far, so we thought it'd be nice to remind you of some of the best things that happened on the baseball field this spring/summer. You're welcome.

Best game: Cubs at Nationals, June 15

Washington took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, only for Anthony Rizzo to give Chicago the lead with a homer, only for Wilson Ramos to send it to extras with an RBI single. The Cubs grabbed a run in the top of the 12th, but Jayson Werth ultimately clinched the game and series with a single in the bottom of the frame. The win probability graph for this game looks like the newest ride at Cedar Point.

After the 5-4 win, Werth unleashed an incredible (albeit profane) postgame interview that somehow made him even more of a cult hero among Nationals fans, as if his wildly unkempt beard and propensity for clutch hits weren't enough.

Here's the full highlight:

Best offensive performance: Kris Bryant, Cubs

On June 27 against in Cincinnati, Bryant was as locked in at the plate as anyone will ever be. He went 5-for-5 with three homers and two doubles, the only player to do so since 1900. He also drove in six runs in the 11-8 win, almost single-handedly pushing the Cubs ahead.

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/747621087094018048

(By the way, check out Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart on Bryant's third homer if you missed it the first time. Not only is his reaction superb, but the way he was set up, and the fact that Ross Ohlendorf actually hit that target, shows just how impressive Bryant's homer was.)

Best pitching performance: Max Scherzer, Nationals

Scherzer faced his former team, the Detroit Tigers, for the first time on May 11 at Nationals Park. It was a cute storyline, especially because former National Jordan Zimmermann was opposing him. But narratives soon gave way to history as Scherzer kept piling up strikeouts, eventually tying the 9-inning record with 20.

Scherzer did give up six hits and two runs (both on solo homers) in the game, so if you're a complete and total Game Score groupie, this isn't the right pick. But there's something to be said for how historic this was. Not only did Scherzer become just the fifth pitcher to fan 20 batters in nine innings, but he also threw the most strikes (96) of any pitcher to throw 120 or fewer pitches (he threw 119).

Best defensive play: Steven Souza, Rays

Judging defensive plays is subjective by nature, so more than anything we have to rely on the \"wow\" factor. Let's just say this diving catch had a lot of that.


It's a play eerily similar to the one he made in 2014 to cap off Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter (back when both were Nationals), and although the moment wasn't quite as big, this was every bit as tough of a catch to make.

Best home run: Bartolo Colon, Mets

And it's not close.

At 42, Colon became the oldest player to hit his first career home run. Just over a week later, that feat was honored with a Guinness World Record. And just when you thought it couldn't get better, it did. This Topps special-edition card shattered company sales records.

https://twitter.com/toppscards/status/729335708335362049

Still three months to go

All of this, and we haven't even reached the All-Star break. In the coming months, fans can look forward to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, the July 31 trading deadline (although deals can still be made via waivers through August), September call-ups, and, of course, the pennant chase. It's going to be a blast. And maybe, if we're lucky, the impossible might happen again.

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