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Bichette's first multi-HR game comes vs. legend

Blue Jays phenom takes Kershaw deep twice in Hollywood debut
@SarahWexler32
August 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Prior to Tuesday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said that facing three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would be a “pretty big test” for some of his young players. “It’ll be good for the kids,” said Montoyo. One

LOS ANGELES -- Prior to Tuesday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said that facing three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would be a “pretty big test” for some of his young players.

“It’ll be good for the kids,” said Montoyo.

One of those kids proved to be more than up to that challenge in the Blue Jays’ 16-3 loss to the Dodgers. Shortstop Bo Bichette, playing in his 21st Major League game, went yard off Kershaw twice for his first career multihomer game.

Box score

“He’s already got confidence, so I don’t think it’s gonna get any higher,” said Montoyo. “That’s the beautiful thing about this kid, that he believes in himself, and it shows. It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, he’s gonna take his hacks and battle, and he does. That’s why he’s swinging the bat like he is. That’s impressive. He’s impressive.”

Bichette, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Toronto’s No. 1 prospect, got started early, driving Kershaw’s second pitch of the game 423 feet over the left-center-field wall. It was Bichette’s first leadoff home run in the Majors.

Kershaw got the better of Bichette in their second meeting, striking the rookie out on three pitches. It was Bichette’s first look at Kershaw’s famous curveball.

“Out of his hand, it looked like a fastball was gonna hit me in the face,” said Bichette. “And then it obviously didn’t. But that’s why he was so good for so many years, is still so good, is that pitch, and everything else about him. It was pretty nasty.”

In the sixth inning, Bichette won the battle, this time knocking a first-pitch slider 411 feet into the left-field bleachers. Both home runs had a 105.8 mph exit velocity, as measured by Statcast.

“My first at-bat, I went up there to try and be aggressive,” said Bichette. “My second at-bat, I think because I hit a homer, I started overthinking, like, ‘He’s gonna make this adjustment to me,’ and I wasn’t as aggressive. And so the third at-bat, I went up there and was like, ‘Hey, being aggressive worked the first time, let’s go back to it,’ and I think he just left it over the center of the plate.”

Bichette is the first rookie to homer off Kershaw twice in a game, and the first player since Jose Reyes did in on June 19, 2017. In Kershaw’s 12-year career, Bichette is just the sixth player to take the lefty deep twice in one game.

Though Bichette has been racking up milestones quickly, the enormity and rarity of what he did on Tuesday was by no means lost on him.

“I’ll be honest … I didn’t really feel my body, and I had a lot of adrenaline going on, way more than my debut,” said Bichette. “I think being at Dodger Stadium, facing Kershaw, I was pretty amped up.

“I’ll always remember this day. It’s a pretty cool thing. I don’t take it for granted, because you can talk about him as being one of the best ever, so it was really cool for me.”

Sarah Wexler is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.