Biggio, Blue Jays roll with Bo in win over Royals

Bichette singles in MLB debut, joins family legacies in Toronto

July 30th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Bo Bichette brought an air of anticipation with him to the big leagues when he joined the Blue Jays’ roster ahead of Monday night’s game against the Royals.

The 21-year-old shortstop came not only to play, but Bichette came to win in his Major League debut, which is exactly what he did and what the team accomplished in a 7-3 victory to take the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

“It’s good to get a guy like Bo, who’s planning on being here for a while and planning on being a guy for awhile, to finally get him up here and being used to having his name on his locker in this locker room,” second baseman said. “It’s definitely exciting to have a guy like him finally here and getting familiarized at this level.”

The learning curve of familiarity was abbreviated for Bichette, ranked as Toronto’s No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, joining an infield that included Biggio and -- two other legacy players who Bichette climbed the Minor League ladder with -- who helped to normalize the exciting day.

“It was really cool,” said Bichette, who went 1-for-4, including a single in his first at-bat. “It was an amazing stadium to make my debut in. Having Cavan and Vladdy near me definitely made it easier, made it feel kind of normal in a way. I’m sure I’ll be able to reflect on it and see how cool it was, but it really felt normal to me today.”

Some of that normalcy came in the form of Bichette watching Biggio have another big day at the plate. Biggio had three hits, including a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, his eighth of the season, off Royals starter Brad Keller.

“Every time Cavan goes up to the plate, you know he’s going to put together a good at-bat,” Bichette said. “He’s not going to get himself out. He’s going to battle, he’s going to make the pitcher make a pitch. The pitcher made a mistake and he got him, so it was really cool.”

Randal Grichuk added a trio of knocks, including his 17th home run, finishing a double shy of the cycle. Teoscar Hernandez hit the blast of the night to get Toronto on the board, a solo shot that traveled a projected 450 feet, according to Statcast.

For all the excitement that built up ahead of his arrival, Bichette delivered immediately in the matchup, promptly logging a single to left field in his first plate appearance as a Major Leaguer. And though the young infielder was forced to head back to the dugout when a fielder’s choice followed, he used his impressive wheels and broke up what might have been a double play.

“There were a lot of big moments in that game,” Biggio said. “Just at the end of the day, it’s good to see a guy like Bo in our lineup, a guy like him who’s going to be here for a while. Even though he only got one hit, he lined out, it’s just exciting to get him here and have him part of this team, and get a win the first game he’s here.”

Bichette added to an already young clubhouse that indicates that the future is now for Toronto. His one-day transition to the Majors was also aided by the fact that the Blue Jays had a rookie on the mound in Thomas Pannone, who made the trip from Buffalo with him. The 25-year-old lefty allowed three runs on five hits over six innings, with one walk and four strikeouts.

“Having played behind him made it a lot easier,” Bichette said. “Knowing what hitters’ tendencies are against him. Definitely knowing that he has confidence in me, too, knowing that he knows that I can make plays and be a good defender. That just gave me the extra confidence I needed, playing behind him. Him on the mound, Vladdy at third, Cavan at second, it all played in my favor.”

Pannone was grateful just to have a front-row seat for his teammate’s debut.

“It was awesome tonight to come in here and look at the lineup and just see all those guys in it,” Pannone said. “I’ve been down in Triple-A with Bo for a couple weeks now and I know how bad he was itching to get up here, and just to be on the mound tonight when he was making his debut, that was special for me, too.”

Tuesday’s win was the second time in Major League history that three sons of former players all started in the same lineup as rookies. It was also what the Blue Jays hope is an indicator of what the future holds for the club, with a young an exciting core of players who enjoy being out on the field together.

“It’s good for us,” Pannone said. “A lot of us have played together in the Minor Leagues and we had a good thing going in Buffalo. A lot of those guys are in this locker room right now so it’s only going to get better and we’re only going to jell more and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”