TORONTO — Prior to Thursday night, not only had Bo Bichette never played at Rogers Centre, he hadn’t even laid eyes on the field.
“This is my first time I’m seeing the field with the turf down and the clay and everything,” he said before the game. “It’s pretty cool, I’m excited to come out here and play.”
His inexperience with his surroundings didn’t show in his performance, though, as Bichette extended his career-beginning hit streak to 11 games in dramatic fashion. After swinging through a Domingo German curveball on a mighty hack, Bichette let it rip again on an 0-1 fastball and cranked it into the facing above the second deck.
“I know that other teams don’t like when rookies take big swings,” he said of the sequence. “A lot of times when a rookie does that they kind of want to prove something, so I knew that I might get a pitch to hit the next pitch.”
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and Bo Bichette didn't miss his chance in front of the Toronto crowd.pic.twitter.com/cTswzJKfRy— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) August 9, 2019
“When I hit the homer that was the first chills moment I’ve had in the big leagues,” he said. “Running around the bases the crowd was pretty loud. Loudest I’ve ever had. So that was a pretty cool moment.”
The ball came off the bat at a sizzling 107.5 mph and travelled 441 feet, making it by far the most impressive hit of his young career. As far as a demonstration of raw power goes, you’re not going to do much better than that.
While the home run held up as his most jaw-dropping knock of the night, it wasn’t the most historically significant. Just one inning later, the rookie sensation laced a double off Chad Green (at a similarly speedy 106.8 mph) and found himself in sole possession of the MLB record for consecutive games with a double with nine.
When the game was over, Bichette had a .408/.453/.837 line to show for his first 11 MLB games with 20 hits - 13 of them for extra bases.
“We’re watching history, that’s what we’re doing,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The doubles and the home runs, that’s where you say ‘wow that’s fun to watch I’m glad I’m here watching it. Front row.”
Ironically, prior to the game, Bichette was asked if he saw himself as more of a power hitter or a contact hitter - and said the following:
I think definitely my first priority is to put the ball in play. But I’m blessed with bat speed and the ability to hit the ball pretty far when I get a hold of it. I think for me I’d rather be a guy who puts the ball in play, hits for average, and gets on base.
If the 21-year-old keeps hitting absolute tanks and setting records for doubles production, he might have to reconsider his self-assessment.
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