With a tip from Asdrubal Cabrera, Zack Wheeler smacked a rare pinch-hit double
On Friday night against the Nationals, the Mets were playing with a short bench due to a number of injuries. As a result, manager Terry Collins had starters Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman wear cleats in case they were needed.
The Mets fell, 4-3, and Gsellman was stranded when he entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth. However, Wheeler had a moment to shine, as he pinch-hit for Matt Harvey in the seventh inning. Once Collins told Wheeler that he should prepare to hit, Asdrubal Cabrera gave the inexperienced pinch-hitter some pointers about batter's box prep.
Wheeler see, Wheeler do.
Whatever Cabrera said must have helped, as Wheeler lifted a double down the right-field line, just the third extra-base hit of his career in over 100 plate appearances. The Citi Field fans roared in delight, and his teammates loved it.
Since the bench was light, Wheeler told MLB.com's Danny Knobler that he was ready for the situation. "It was all hands on deck. ... Us pitchers like to think of ourselves as athletes, so we take a lot of pride in our hitting."
Regarding the double, though, Wheeler felt like it was a bit of a fluke. He said, "[I] just got lucky with that pitch and dropped it down the line."
Nonetheless, it was the Mets' first pinch-hit from a pitcher in six years, and Wheeler even made a little bit of franchise history, too.
Mets pitchers with a pinch-hit XBH:— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) April 22, 2017
Zack Wheeler 2B (tonight)
Jon Niese 3B (2011)
Doc Gooden 3B (1993)
Now Collins knows -- when it comes to pinch-hitting, Zack's the Wheel deal.