Shortstop Bo Bichette is heating up at the perfect time for the Toronto Blue Jays. Since the calendar turned to September, he is hitting .482 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 13 games. Bichette has recorded multiple hits in nine of the 13 games and had the first three-homer game of his career on Sept. 5.
His seventh home run of the month came in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, the same day Bichette was named AL Player of the Week.
The hottest hitter on the planet: Bo Bichette 🔥 pic.twitter.com/JslydLXcRh
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 13, 2022
The Blue Jays have won 10 of their 13 games this month thanks in no small part to Bichette’s contributions, and hold a half-game lead over the Rays and Seattle Mariners for the first wild-card spot in the American League after Tuesday’s games.
Bichette is part of an exciting young Blue Jays core working to turn a franchise that’s made just three postseason appearances since 1993 into a perennial contender. At 80-62, they are on pace to win 90 games for the second year in a row, even though they missed the postseason last year. The Jays last made the playoffs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Bo Bichette in 11 games this September for the @BlueJays:
7 home runs
Since RBI became an official stat in 1920, the only other MLB player to reach all of those numbers over an 11-game span was Lou Gehrig in June 1930.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) September 13, 2022
Part of the team’s turnaround can be credited to a strong culture within the clubhouse that has translated to success on the field. Helping create that culture was one of Bichette’s goals when he joined the club, and he explained what he believes that looks like during an appearance on Sports Spectrum’s “Table Forty” podcast in May 2021.
“What I look for in leadership is you’ve got to walk the talk,” Bichette said. “If you’re gonna say things, you’ve got to do it. And I think also really focusing in on what actually matters. For example, in a clubhouse, what actually matters is that we play hard, that we’re good teammates and that we prepare.”
Faith is at the center of everything last season’s AL hits leader does, as indicated by Bichette’s Instagram bio, which includes Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
On “Table Forty,” Bichette talked about what the verse means to him and how he’s learned to rely on God during the low points of his baseball journey.
“I deal with anxiety, nerves and everything just like everyone else does,” he said. “When you rely on yourself to get over those things, it doesn’t always work. Just, by prayer and petition, trusting the Lord, trusting God’s plan, that’s not always easy. It’s pretty hard sometimes, but just praying for His help to do those things I think has helped me a lot with dealing with anxieties and pressures and all that.”
Just four years into his big-league career, Bichette has experienced the comfort that comes with knowing he is not defined by what he does on the diamond. It was a lesson he had to learn through his own personal struggle with focusing too much on his performance.
He said on the podcast that he finally decided he wasn’t going to let his happiness be determined by how he played. The next step was figuring out how to be happy when things weren’t going well, which is where his faith came in.
“I think that when you get that relationship with God, you can put things in perspective a little bit more, that really the only thing that matters is the effort you’re putting in, the person you’re being, things like that. I think that when you can understand that, it takes a lot of pressure off of your work life,” Bichette said.
Toronto plays the fourth of five straight games against the Rays on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET) as both teams work to clinch playoff spots.
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