A.J. Burnett picked off a runner in the first inning today.
It’s starting to become a familiar sight this Spring to see a Pirates pitcher picking off a runner at first. On Thursday, James McDonald started the game by allowing a single, then erased the runner with a pickoff to first. Today, A.J. Burnett started the game the same way. Darin Mastroianni started the game with a single, but was immediately picked off by Burnett at first.
“I know they’re going to run on Burnett. I know it,” Burnett said in the third-person after the game. “So any little thing I can do to get better, to help this team get better, I’m all in. And I’ve shown twice so far that it does help.”
The Pirates were allowing runners to run at-will last year, but have been placing a bigger emphasis on controlling the running game this year. Last year the focus was on the quality of pitch to the plate, with no regard for the runner on first. There is still a focus on the quality of the pitch to home, but this year the ...