Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk doing the little things correctly

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Randal Grichuk
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 29: Randal Grichuk /

The Blue Jays put a lickin’ on the White Sox on Tuesday night, but it was the “little things” that stood out, starting with Randal Grichuk.

The Blue Jays have lived and died by the home run for several years now, and it’s been a recurring point of discussion when it comes to seeing improvement from the team. The front office has made some efforts to put a more well-rounded team on the field, but obviously the home run still plays a big part in the success or failure of the team as currently constructed.

On Tuesday everything was clicking for the offence, as they beat up on the White Sox to the tune of 14 runs on 15 hits, especially punishing their visitors in the eighth inning by scoring seven runs. It was a clinic on how we’d all like to see the Blue Jays performing, hitting the ball in the gap, the other way, and running the bases well. For those of us who have lamented the “all or nothing” approach in recent years, it was a beautiful thing to behold.

In an ideal world, the Blue Jays will have a lot more games just like that. However, we can probably expect our fair share of games lost because of too many strikeouts, and wins as a result of the long ball. That said, there were signs of improvement in some significant areas, and from one new face in particular.

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While Randal Grichuk profiles as the type of hitter to be that “all or nothing” profile, he’s also receiving a full time job with the Blue Jays this year, something he never enjoyed as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn’t as if he rotted on the bench there, but a full time job can go a long way to developing positive behaviours, something he quietly put on display during Tuesday’s big win.

During his first at bat, Yangervis Solarte was at second base after a lead off double, and Grichuk came up to the plate with none out. While it didn’t result in a run, Grichuk did exactly the type of thing the Blue Jays have been missing for the last couple of years: a simple ground ball to second base to move the runner to third. It wasn’t fancy, but Grichuk sat back on the a few pitches and made a clear effort to hit the ball the other way.

In the eighth inning Grichuk came to the plate with the bases loaded and worked the count to 3-0. With a green light, he hit a deep fly ball for a sacrifice fly, scoring Josh Donaldson and advancing Justin Smoak to third base in the midst of the Blue Jays’ big inning. Nothing flashy, but it got the job done once again and brought the score to 10-5.

I’m fully aware that he struck out, flew out, and reached on an error as well in his other at bats during the game, but it was those two plate appearances that had me feeling encouraged about the 26 year old outfielder. I’m also aware that he’s currently hitting .105 through the team’s first six games, but the numbers don’t tell the full story.

If he and his new teammates can do more of those “little things”, it will go a long way toward pushing the Blue Jays into true contenders in 2018. He might be just 2-19 at the plate thus far as a Blue Jay, but I like what I’m seeing from the former first round pick, rough stats or not.

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