Big League Stew

A.J. Burnett inexplicably intercepts throw intended to catch base stealer Jon Jay (video)

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

A,J. Burnett had one of those interesting moments on Saturday night. It wasn't big enough to overshadow his six innings of two-run ball, or the fact he won his second start in 10 ten days against the St. Louis Cardinals, but we saw it, we scratched our heads, and now we're presenting it to you.

It happened during the fourth inning with Jon Jay running at first. Jay has pretty decent speed, so a stolen base attempt there was a reasonable expectation. Apparently A.J. Burnett didn't think so though, or maybe what was happening wasn't properly communicated to him, because his reaction to Jay taking off wasn't what you normally see from a pitcher.

Rather than throw the pitch and immediately duck once the catcher goes into his throwing motion, Burnett just stands there. He then calmly intercepts the throw from Russell Martin, which he had to think was coming back a little quicker than usual, and that allowed Jay to swipe his first bag of the season uncontested.

As Mike Axisa of Eye on Baseball notes, Burnett has allowed an astounding 103 stolen bases in 117 attempts since 2010. That's an 88-percent success rate, but we don't think he's ever allowed one quite like this.

The inexplicable brain camp was acknowledged with a few smiles from teammates and a shake of the head from Martin, who later homered to help Burnett get the win. Burnett, though, didn't seem to register the gaffe, which is exactly what you'd expect from 15-year veteran. After all, it's the same guy who didn't seem one bit phased when he lost his recent no-hit bid to the same Cardinals.

He just went back to work that night, just as he did here by finishing off the inning without any damage being done. For that reason, Burnett's blunder will remain under the radar in comparison to others we have seen and will see this season, but I won't soon forget it. Nor will his teammates, I'm sure.

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