The 2013 baseball season is nearly one-fourth over, so with that in mind, here is a look back at some of the most memorable moments of the first quarter of the season.
April 2: Yu Darvish's near-perfect game
This was by far the most suspenseful moment of the season to date. Yu Darvish, on just the second full-day of the season, dominated the Astros for 8 2/3 innings, striking out 14 men, and was just one out away from a perfect game, when this happened:
[mlbvideo id="25961023" width="400" height="224" /]
Darvish's performance in that game has been rivaled only by Matt Harvey's 12-strikeout one-hitter on May 7 as the most overpowering pitching performance of the season, and his excellence on the mound later provided the raw material for this jaw-dropping GIF.
April 6: Kevin Frandsen's walk-off double
The most dramatic walk-off hit of the season came on April 6. Trailing the Royals 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies loaded the bases on walks against Kansas City closer Greg Holland, only to watch Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. strikeout. That brought pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen to the plate with two outs. Frandsen, a 3o-year-old journeyman infielder, had just one prior plate appearance on the season, a single on Opening Day. On Holland's first pitch, he did this:
April 11: The Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke fight
The ugliest on-field incident this season was this now-infamous fight in which Greinke suffered a broken left collar bone. Greinke's start against the Nationals Wednesday night will be his first since this game.
[mlbvideo id="26207091" width="400" height="224" /]
April 15: Ben Revere's catch
The most difficult part of assembling this list was picking a top defensive play. Though the season has provided plenty of spectacular, unusual, and memorable fielding plays, there hasn't been one that has stood above the others, though this catch by Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere comes close. Revere initially reacted to this fly ball as though he thought Todd Frazier had been jammed by Cliff Lee, then not only made a dazzling Superman-like leap to make the play, but also made a catch that seemed so impossible that baserunner Jay Bruce was easily doubled off first.
[mlbvideo id="26305439" width="400" height="224" /]
April 19: Jean Segura's steal of first base
Of all the unusual plays this season, this may have been the strangest.
[mlbvideo id="26416825" width="400" height="224" /]
April 20: David Ortiz's defiant expletive
Baseball is a form of escapism for many, but even baseball couldn't escape the impact of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. The city of Boston was shut down on Friday, April 19 as the authorities tracked down and captured the surviving bombing suspect, and when the Red Sox returned to action on Saturday, David Ortiz spoke for all Bostonians with a well-placed expletive to which not even the FCC could object.
April 29: Mark Trumbo's blast (and Brandon Moss's walk-off)
The two longest home runs of the season, as measured by ESPN's Home Run Tracker, have both gone 475 feet. The first was hit by the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo at Wrigley Field. This one, by the Angels' Mark Trumbo, came in Oakland.
[mlbvideo id="26704051" width="400" height="224" /]
That game was also notable for being the longest of the season. It lasted 19 innings and saw the A's win 10-8 on this two-run walk-off home run by Brandon Moss:
[mlbvideo id="26717993" width="400" height="224" /]
May 7: J.A. Happ's injury
The scariest on-field moment this season came when Blue Jays' starter J.A. Happ was hit in the left ear by a comebacker off the bat of Desmond Jennings. Happ suffered a fracture behind the ear and needed stitches in the ear; he also sprained his knee in his fall and is expected to miss four to six weeks. However, he is also expected to make a full recovery and suffered no significant head or brain trauma. You might want to skip this video.
[mlbvideo id="26917245" width="400" height="224" /]
May 8: The Blown Replay
It's probably unfair to say that 2013 hasn't been a great year for the umpires. I've seen just as many amazingly accurate close calls as blown ones thus far, but umpires have little-to-no room for error, and some of their mistakes this season have been glaring. The postgame name-calling between Tom Hallion and David Price was regrettable, but it had no impact on the game. Far more problematic were the incidents on consecutive days in early May. The first came in Cleveland, where an umpiring crew led by Angel Hernandez blew the call on a would-be game-tying home run in the ninth inning of a game between the A's and Indians, ruling it a double. The A's didn't score in the inning and lost 4-3. The next night in Houston, an entire umpiring crew led by Fieldin Culbreth forgot a basic rule governing pitching changes.
[mlbvideo id="26957341" width="400" height="224" /]
May 11: Evan Longoria's walk-off home run
Frandsen's walk-off double was the walk-off from the first quarter of the season that came with the winning team trailing by the most runs, but it also came with the tying run in scoring position. On Saturday, Evan Longoria hit a two-run home run off Padres' closer Huston Street with his Rays trailing 7-6 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth that was the single most valuable hit in the major leagues thus far this season, according to Win Probability Added. The Rays had just a nine percent chance of winning that game before Longoria's homer, making the home run worth a staggering 91 percent of that win. Frandsen's hit was worth "just" 83 percent of the Phillies' win on April 6.
[mlbvideo id="27041209" width="400" height="224" /]