Despite the fact that he’s been struggling, the Blue Jays have stuck with Randal Grichuk hitting high in the order, and it’s time for that to change.
The batting order has undergone a lot of changes throughout this season, with Charlie Montoyo often riding the hot hand. However, one hitter has been struggling for quite some time, and yet he still finds himself in the middle of the lineup most of the time.
There was a time that the Blue Jays were riding the bat of Randal Grichuk, but it’s been a while since he’s made much of a contribution. On the season he’s now slashing .258/.296/.447 with nine home runs, nine doubles, and 28 RBI across 190 at-bats, essentially regressing to his career norms. Those numbers aren’t atrocious, but it’s taken some recent struggles to bring those numbers down.
Looking back to August 19th, Grichuk looked like he might be finally breaking out in the way the Blue Jays have been hoping for since they traded for him. At that point in the season he was slashing .344/.400/.656, and had taken over as the second hitter in the order when Bo Bichette hit the injured list. However, since then he hasn’t been the same hitter, and yet, his spot in the order hasn’t really reflected that. On Sunday he was hitting fifth between the red-hot Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
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If I’m Charlie Montoyo, I think I’ve seen enough from Grichuk in order to drop him to the bottom third. That’s because over the last 30 days he’s hitting just .221/.248/.351, and has been even worse over the last week, slashing just .160/.154/.200 over his last 25 at-bats. He’s not utilizing the same patience and pitch recognition that made him successful earlier in the year, and he generally looks pretty lost at the plate right now.
While the Blue Jays do need him at his best to be at their best, now isn’t the time to have patience. There are just seven games remaining in the regular season, and they’ll likely need at least a few more wins to secure their playoff spot. That means that every at-bat is as important as it’s been all year, and they can’t afford to have an ice-cold stick in the middle of the lineup, especially as they enter another four-game series with the Yankees.
With Teoscar Hernandez healthy and back in the lineup, and Jonathan Davis playing well since joining the big league roster, I’d even argue that giving Grichuk a day or two on the bench may not be a bad idea. I do think the Blue Jays need him if they’re going to give their best effort in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean he needs to hit fifth in the order while he’s scuttling. For now, it’s time for Montoyo to drop the veteran in the lineup.