Toronto Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette has become one of Major League Baseball’s biggest stories over the past month, and he showed why against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series opener at Dodger Stadium.
Bichette sent Kershaw’s second pitch of the game over the fence in left-center field for his first career leadoff home run. Bichette then took Kershaw deep again in the sixth inning for his first multi-home run game in the Majors.
The Dodgers trampled Toronto from there, but Bichette’s performance against one of the greatest pitchers in recent baseball history provided a silver lining for the rebuilding rookies and their newest star rookie.
Bichette said he got even more excited than he did for his MLB debut, according to Sarah Wexler of MLB.com:
“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.”
At 21 years and 168 days old, Bichette became the youngest player ever to have a multi-home run game against a pitcher who had been previously won an MVP. Kershaw did so in 2014, while Bichette was still in high school.
Both home runs were on pitches Kershaw left hanging in the middle of the strike zone. The veteran Dodgers ace looked shaky at times, and the three total home runs allowed to Bichette and Derek Fisher marked a new season-high for him.
“He’s a good player. There’s not a whole lot of information, obviously,” Kershaw said of Bichette. “He’s been tearing it up since he came to the big leagues. He took two pitches that were mistakes, and did what you’re supposed to do. It was impressive.”
Despite giving up three solo home runs over six innings, Kershaw still did just enough to notch his eighth consecutive quality start.
He also got plenty of run support which helped him reach a milestone of his own. With his 116th career victory, Kershaw passed fellow iconic Dodgers lefthander Sandy Koufax for fifth place on the team’s all-time pitcher wins leaderboard.
Kershaw improved to 13-2 on the season and 6-0 since his run of quality starts began on July 5.