Bo stays hot, lifts Blue Jays over Rays on field and in standings

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Final Score: 3-2

TORONTO – In the words of legendary Blue Jays voice Buck Martinez, “if you don’t think something special is happening with this Blue Jays team, you’re simply just not paying attention.”


Maybe he really is onto something. 


If the Blue Jays have done anything this year, it's battle adversity. Through stretches of losing records fueled by an overtaxed bullpen and complete lack of offence, this team has managed to fight its way back and officially claim back second place honours in the AL East with last night’s 3-2 win over the Rays the nail on the coffin. 


Down 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, time was not on Toronto’s side when the hottest hitter in baseball in the form of Bo Bichette stepped up to the plate with Riamel Tapia standing on second base. Many were a little hesitant watching the at bat knowing just two innings ago, Bichette was on the wrong end of a fastball that got away from Javy Guerra slicing in and catching Bichette up high just under his helmet. Tensions rose instantly as the shortstop, thankfully unharmed, was instead furious as he slammed his bat down before accepting his free trip down to first base. 


Jawing began back and forth most notably between Toronto’s John Schneider and Tampa’s Kevin Cash. The feud was short lived though as business carried on to Bo’s eighth inning appearance. 


The question on the minds of many. Will this affect the confidence our hottest hitter has right now?


The answer was quite simple. Bo laced a slider low and away over the wall in left-centre field, just beyond the reach of Randy Arozarena to give the Blue Jays their first lead of the night. It would be the only lead they needed as just a half inning later, Jordan Romano was brought into the game to do his thing, and doing his thing he did. Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Manual Margot of extra bases to open the frame, before Romano sat down Isaac Paredes and got Francisco Mejia to ground out to end the ballgame 3-2. 


Bo’s homer starts his week as reigning AL Player of the Week off in brilliant fashion as the 24-year-old is hitting .511/.549/1.128 over his last 11 games. The surge in performance comes after what can be described as a down year for the shortstop before his patience at the plate began to play a major role in the results he’s getting now. 


"Two strikes I’m just competing," Bichette said of his approach after taking a 2-2 slider in the dirt before going deep. "Just trust my ability to get to the fastball, I have to rush for it and give myself a chance on the slider. Got the chance."


"I've seen him do so many great things," said teammate Cavan Biggio. "I've seen him be hot, I've seen him be cold and what I see from him now is mentally, he's just keeping things really simple. He's not trying to be the perfect hitter. He's not trying to be someone that he's not. He's just being the best version of himself."


The best version of himself is one the Toronto Blue Jays so desperately needed during this time as the team is now 79-61 tied with the Mariners for first in the Wildcard race, and is just 5.5 games back from the New York Yankees in the East. 


The Blue Jays and Rays go again on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.