Braves look to Escobar for spark in leadoff spot

St. Louis – With the Braves getting continued dismal production from leadoff hitters, Yunel Escobar was moved to the top of the order for Monday night’s series opener at St. Louis.

Braves leadoff hitters were a majors-worst 7-for-77 (.091) with a .165 on-base percentage and .143 slugging percentage, worse statistically than the team’s No. 9 hitters (.121/.190/.207).

“We’ve tried just about everybody but him, might as well,” manager Bobby Cox said of the Escobar move. “He’s had some good at-bats lately.”

Escobar has slumped like so many other Braves lately, batting .167 with one extra-base hit, two RBI and a .271 on-base percentage in his past 13 games before Monday.

The Braves were desperate to find a spark from someone in the No. 1 spot, however, and had tried every other obvious candidate except team batting leader Martin Prado, who Cox wants to keep in the No. 2 spot ahead of Chipper Jones.

Escobar had good numbers (.309 average, .371 OBP) in 320 career at-bats in the leadoff position, but last had more than 11 at-bats in the role in 2008. He hit .285 with a .358 OBP in 158 at-bats from the leadoff spot in ‘08 and a robust .351 with a .400 OBP and 17 extra-base hits in 151 at-bats in 2007.

He flied out deep, just in front of the right-field wall, to start Monday night’s game.

Entering Monday, Braves Matt Diaz (.130) and Nate McLouth (.167) had the two lowest leadoff on-base percentages in the National League, and Melky Cabrera (.212) was the fifth-lowest.

Diaz went 3-for-5 batting leadoff on April 18 against Colorado, and Braves leadoff hitters were 4-for-72 (.055) in the other 17 games before Monday.

38 comments Add your comment

FIRST?

April 26th, 2010
8:52 pm

first???????????/

second

April 26th, 2010
8:55 pm

third

April 26th, 2010
8:55 pm

fourth

April 26th, 2010
8:55 pm

rickman

April 26th, 2010
8:56 pm

fifth

April 26th, 2010
8:56 pm

Aw, screw it. I’m not winning anything.

rickman

April 26th, 2010
9:00 pm

Anyone know when was the last homer???? Seems like forever….

John

April 26th, 2010
9:04 pm

Stop the press we are winning!!!!! Somebody take a picture of the scoreboard!! QUICK!!!!!!

Steve

April 26th, 2010
9:05 pm

Put Prado as leadoff. He’s the only Brave worth a heck right now

John

April 26th, 2010
9:08 pm

rickman, I can’t even remember. It feels like ages ago.

Youngerthan Thatnow

April 26th, 2010
9:11 pm

At least Yunel won’t likely stand there and take called third strikes… but then, Matty D doesn’t either. It looks to me like Yunel has his head out of his bass tonight… maybe so. IMO, he has as much natural talent as anybody out there. Nothing better than a scoring rally started by a pitcher. Let’s keep it going guys.

Youngerthan Thatnow

April 26th, 2010
9:13 pm

Oh… wasn’t the last homer the Glaus, Hayward, McClouth trifecta of last Tuesday night?

John

April 26th, 2010
9:15 pm

Youngerthan Thatnow, I think that was the last time they hit a homer.

John

April 26th, 2010
9:17 pm

Now the last time we played like homers was last night. I think we have a consecutive game streak going right there. It might get broke tonight though, with Hudson on the mound.

lucho

April 26th, 2010
9:23 pm

Get rid of Glaus.Too many strikeouts with people on third base with less than two outs.Bring Anderson back.

Youngerthan Thatnow

April 26th, 2010
9:26 pm

And Hudson’s pitch count should be low for this point of the game. And the Trivia question answer is… Lonnie Smith.

Don't-win-it-4Bobby-but-4the-FANS

April 26th, 2010
9:30 pm

Nice sequence to start this blogging. Who were the lucky ones? What did they get in return?

Jerald Holcombe

April 26th, 2010
9:55 pm

Heyward is looking pretty bad at the plate now and is batting a crisp .234. Now he looks like an Atlanta Brave. Might be time for Bobby to call on his buddy Terry Pendleton to take him under his wing and straighten him out.

Jerald Holcombe

April 26th, 2010
9:57 pm

Andruw would have caught that ball. McOut can’t even imitate a decent centerfielder.

Heyward Knockahoma

April 26th, 2010
10:06 pm

What the deal with being first? Is it like the kid in 3rd grade at the front of the classroom always raising his hand with the answer?

Stumpknocker

April 26th, 2010
10:46 pm

That’s the problem now J Holcomb. Pendleton’s tracks are all over this team. Wouldn’t you agree it’s time to quit swapping players and instead swap the hitting instructor?

alaaandru

April 26th, 2010
10:57 pm

Fans are merely in the hunt to experience something competitive…lest my reference includes our beloved Bravos…tellingly, when fans revert to this practice–wait, Chipper just got a mouth full of dirt stretching to pretend high level effort…so sad…down and out–of it…anyway, the fans are simply teaching Escobar a little math–number recognition. This will certainly help Yunel keep track of his daily screw-ups.

Kentavo

April 26th, 2010
11:03 pm

Solution: Go nab Brian Roberts.

01HAWK

April 26th, 2010
11:16 pm

At what point does Liberty Media tell BOOBY COX he needs to resign to save face or get fired.

No speed
No defense
No enthusiasm
Can’t hit

Mike

April 26th, 2010
11:16 pm

BOBBY COX IS GONE AFTER THIS YEAR! CHIPPER JONES SHOULD LEAVE TOO! AND FRANK WREN NEEDS TO BE FIRED! WAY TO SIGN LOWE TO A FAT CONTRACT!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WREN?!?!?1 I HATE YOU!!!

01HAWK

April 26th, 2010
11:21 pm

6 loses in a row and no hope in sight. Maybe we will get 5 runs with DLOWE pitching, but he will give up 6.

Braves are back to the 80’s. They might as well put on the uniforms that DAREL CHANEY and Darrell Evans wore.

Look at the Minnesota Twins. They do not have the payroll the Braves do, nor the Florida Marlins,and they both play better than the Braves. It is definitely the manager. COX needs to go and right now. I hope he reigns.

Could he actually be fired by the same team twice. I hope so.

01HAWK

April 26th, 2010
11:22 pm

I hope he resigns. My bad.

I Hate Liberty Media

April 26th, 2010
11:58 pm

Yes, only if he’s packaged in a trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

Bad teams find a way to lose. This is a bad team.

OzzyBraves

April 27th, 2010
12:05 am

With the success Kelly Johnson, Frenchy, and Kotchman are having right now, it is becoming more apparent the problem lies in the top. Specifically with Terry Pendleton. It just can’t be any other thing, not with this many guys slumping at one time.

The players won’t even listen to Terry’s comments and teachings, so what the hell makes Bobby Cox think that Terry Pendleton needs to spend another day as a coach.

If Bobby Cox wants to finish strong in his career, he needs to strap on a set of balls for the first time since his quit, and get a hitting coach. Period.

Braves are in last place, Bobby. You want to go out that way?!

jb

April 27th, 2010
12:25 am

This team needs someone to light a fire to their a**. Watching the base running of Escobar and then Glaus pouting with a fly ball and making it close at second base with the ball lost in the sun. Worse part is they both start the next game. With a right hander on the mound the next day, Cox should have started Hinske at first. Don’t know if Conrad should be at short, but wound have liked to see a hard nosed player hustle vs. what is being put on the field. I know the Braves don’t have blazing speed, but they need to get moving on the base paths. Reyes getting from 1st to home during Bay’s at bat shows what aggressive baserunning does. I can’t stand the excuse of not running, so they pitch to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hitters. They are not getting the job done anyway. St. Louis Cardinals had a play with over 100 rbi’s with only 5 home runs due the players in front getting on base and getting in scoring position. This Braves team does not have the power for the players to be passive on the basepaths. Put some pressure on the opponents defense and pitchers for crying out loud. I can respect Cox for not blasting his players in the media, but last I noted Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox have been in and one a World Series in the past decade. They are certainly playing better than the Braves are now.

mytrifecta

April 27th, 2010
12:38 am

This team is in a bad spot. They have no leadership in the club house and simply don’t know how to win. We have plenty of talent and hopefully they figure it out soon.

Jonathan Simeone

April 27th, 2010
12:39 am

I like having Escobar down in the order, but this team really needed a leadoff hitter. There were some good signs tonight. Escobar, Cabrera and McLouth all had better at bats tonight. Our friend Glaus even hit a few balls hard. The problem, though, is that the better at bats happened against an average pitcher. Let’s see how things go tomorrow. For tonight, I’m encouraged.

wayn-o

April 27th, 2010
12:48 am

INFANTE should be lead-off & left field, can’t get any worse!

Jonathan Simeone

April 27th, 2010
1:43 am

I would not mind seeing Infante getting more of a run in the leadoff spot; he’s hit well when given the chance. In fact, if he did not get hurt last year Prado may have never been given a chance.

chuck

April 27th, 2010
2:12 am

Infante needs to be in the lineup someplace everyday.

Glaus and the Dud need bus tickets. Without peanut butter sandwiches, though, I don’t have time to make them.

Hinske and Ross need using more as well.

I am in favor of going one less arm and bringing up Sammons for stretches in order to get Ross more ABs off the bench, and McCann a little more rest.

A) Our pitchers will be going longer than average in 3 of 5 games very soon.

B) McCann is one of the few guys we can count on nightly, and he needs to be fresh. I’d love to see more split games with Ross.

What I don’t like is having a supposedly competitive icon of a manager not try any new combos in his final year? You’d think he’d be breathing fire at the unproductive scrubs.

Boog

April 27th, 2010
6:25 am

I yell,
You yell,
We all yell,
For Yunell!

Brad Komminsk

April 27th, 2010
8:44 am

gee, how good would Kelly Johnson look in left field right now?

hal

April 27th, 2010
4:51 pm

these bloggers dint like kelly i emaginre color had something to do wiyth it they liked loaf who was a joke fine

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