Nelson Velázquez makes history in hitting pair of home runs off the bench
By no means were any of the 2 home runs Nelson Velázquez hit Friday night in Philadelphia easy.
That may be hard to believe given the environment he came into in the Cubs’ 15-2 thrashing of the Phillies. He pinch-hit for Rafael Ortega in the 8th inning of the game, with the Cubs leading safely 10-1. With a pair of runners on, Velázquez capped off a 7-pitch at-bat with a 421-foot home run to make it 13-1.
“I think the thing that stood out in that at-bat was it didn’t look sharp to start, right,” David Ross told reporters in Philadelphia. “It looked like he was finding his timing. There’s an art to pinch hitting that I think comes with experience.
“I don’t think he’s done a whole lot of that in his minor league career, so just getting in there, being ready to hit, being ready to pull the trigger, get your A swing off is really hard to do. It’s a hard task and is usually reserved for a lot of veteran guys, but we’ve been using him more and more to come in and have some of those at-bats.”
His second home run came off the Phillies’ backup catcher, Garrett Stubbs. But that wasn’t a simple task for Velázquez.
“I mean to be honest, I hate facing position players,” Velázquez said. “some position players they throw really slow and then other ones just throw harder, sometimes you don’t know what they really want to throw, how fast they’re going to throw, they’re trying to get you out. I just try to be easy, be easy and not do too much versus a position player because it’s hard, it’s hard. So I just try to do my best.”
His best effort resulted in a little bit of history. Velázquez became just the second Cubs player since at least 1901 to hit 2 home runs off the bench, the first being Thad Bosley on Aug. 12, 1985 against the Expos.
“I didn’t know that,” Velázquez said. “It feels good. It’s just amazing, come to bat, get that opportunity, get my chance and be able to hit two home runs in the 8th and then in the 9th, that’s something that I have to be happy for and just keep working.”