Lauer's impressive move sets team pickoff record

June 14th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Baserunners beware: It probably isn't very wise to venture too far off first base against .

The Padres rookie left-hander has employed his pickoff move as a certifiable weapon this season. Against the Cardinals in a 4-2 Padres win on Wednesday night, he wasted no time. Cardinals leadoff man opened the bottom of the first inning with a single. Two pitches later, he was out at first base.

It marked Lauer's Major League-leading seventh pickoff of the year, and the fifth consecutive game in which he recorded one. That's a Padres record and only the fifth time in Major League history it's happened.

In fact, only Andy Pettitte -- widely regarded as one of the top pickoff wizards of all time -- has put together a longer streak. Pettitte picked off a baserunner in eight straight games for the Yankees during the 1997 season.

What makes the move so successful? Deception is half the battle. It's a near tossup for the baserunner whether Lauer is going home or to first. But the speed of the move is just as tricky. Even when baserunners know it's coming, Lauer's quick throw beats them to the bag.

"I don't think he's fooling as many guys as it looks like," said Padres manager Andy Green after Lauer nabbed Miami's on Friday. "They think they've got more time, and then he gets that foot down, and that snap throw comes over a lot quicker than anybody expects. They're almost shocked by it."