Bo Bichette got to play the hero on Monday night against the Boston Red Sox, hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the 8th inning to secure the series-opening victory. For the struggling shortstop, the blast couldn’t have come at a better time.
Bichette entered Monday’s game with a slash line of .217/.239/.290 across his first 69 at-bats, with just one home run and two doubles to show for his efforts. The 24 year old has always been aggressive at the plate, but to start the year it hasn’t worked in his favour, as he’d already struck out 20 times.
Bichette fanned one more time on Monday, and when he came to the plate in the eighth inning he was 0-3 on the evening. That’s one of the many beautiful things about baseball, is it only takes one swing of the bat to completely change a player’s fortunes. In this case, I have a feeling that this particular swing will mean more than just one (important) victory against the Red Sox.
As we saw last season, Bichette has the ability to be one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball when he’s on his game. He finished the 2021 campaign with a .298/.343/.484 slash line with 29 home runs, 30 doubles, 102 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in 26 attempts. His emergence earned him a place on the AL All-Star team, and he also quietly finished 12th in MVP voting.
One of the encouraging things about the Blue Jays’ start to the season is the fact that they’re not even close to firing on all cylinders, and yet they’re 11-6 thus far. They’re without Teoscar Hernandez, Danny Jansen, and Hyun Jin Ryu who are all on the IL due to various injuries, and Nate Pearson started the regular season there because of a case of mono. Cavan Biggio has now joined them on the sidelines as of Monday, but it remains to be seen how long he’ll out.
On top of those various injuries, we haven’t seen the best from several players on the roster, and Bichette may be near the top of the list. There have been calls from impatient fans to shuffle him down the lineup from his spot hitting second these days, and hopefully Monday’s grand slam will be the confidence boost that the budding star needed to get going. At his best Bichette is one of the most dangerous hitters in the American League, and if he gets rolling then the 11-6 Blue Jays are going to be even more difficult to beat.
The reality is, baseball is a game for the patient, and a cold stretch can turn into a hot streak in a real hurry. Hopefully that’s exactly what Monday night’s grand slam will do for Bichette. With a short-handed lineup and a tough schedule on the horizon that includes the Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees, it would be be a well-timed jolt to the offence.