If you missed it last week, we did a recap of some of the best Brewers .gifs when it came to baserunning. Today, we bring you the best defensive plays in .gif form. Crashing into walls! Behind-the-back flips! Exclamation points!
June 11 – Braun Pulls One Back
Context: If Ryan Braun ended up beating Chase Headley for the NL’s RBI crown in 2012, this would have been a play to remember. Alas, he didn’t, but this is still an impressive leap. As much as Braun has improved in left field, it’s still a surprise when he times a leap just right enough to make the grab.
June 26 – Basic Plushdamentals
Context: It was a disappointing year for Nyjer Morgan, but every now and then we saw flashes of the Tony Plush of 2011. Zack Cozart should have had extra bases, but Morgan came crashing into to make the catch with such force that he jarred the bullpen door open. Then he talked some smack to the Reds’ bullpen attendant.
July 10 – Ryan Robs Prince
Context: This was the first All-Star Game post-Prince Era, and when Ryan Braun made it into the starting lineup as an injury replacement, you had a feeling the ball would find Braun off Prince Fielder’s bat. It looked like Fielder had extra bases against Stephen Strasburg, but Braun — who possibly misjudged the slicing flight of the ball — recovered in time to end the inning with a leaping grab.
August 12 – Rickie Shows Some Range
Context: Jean Segura had only been with the Brewers for about a week when he teamed up with Rickie Weeks for one of the most memorable double plays of the year. Weeks isn’t known for his range, but caught up with this bouncer up the middle in Houston. Too far to his right to make a normal throw and keep the double play possibility alive, Weeks made a Brandon Phillips-esque flip behind the back to Segura, who rifled one to first to complete the double play. The play also led to my favorite Brewers reaction .gif of the year:
August 21 – Segura’s Diving Stab
Context: In case you needed any proof Jean Segura, while still new to the position, is better defensively than any shortstop the Brewers have had since Alcides Escobar. Brett Jackson was running with two outs, so if this liner by Cubs pitcher Chris Rusin snuck through in the 5th, there was a chance Jackson could score (he would’ve at least been on third). Instead, Segura ended the inning with one of the better instinctual plays you’ll see.
September 10 – Nori Nails Martin Prado
Context: Norichika Aoki isn’t known for having a great arm, but nailed Prado trying to take third for the final out of the 8th inning with the Brewers clinging to a 4-1 lead. Four Braves baserunners were thrown out on the bases in this game. A right fielder with a better arm probably hits Aramis Ramirez without a bounce, but Aoki placed the hop perfectly.
September 16 – GoGo Goes Splat
Context: Ike Davis thought he had extra bases with the bases empty and one out in the 7th inning. Carlos Gomez had other ideas. This is one of my favorites for a couple reasons: 1. You can see how far Gomez had to run to make this play as he was shaded over to right, playing the lefty Davis to pull. 2. Gomez doesn’t slow down and crashes into the wall at nearly full-speed. It’s a minor miracle he doesn’t knock himself out.
Have any other favorites that aren’t here? Feel free to comment. Next Monday we’ll wrap up the year with a look at some of the best home run .gifs of the year.