Escobar gets first multi-hit game in nearly a month – updated

Miami – For the first time since returning from the disabled list and one of the few times this season, shortstop Yunel Escobar looked like himself at the plate Wednesday night.

Escobar snapped out of a 3-for-35 stretch in his first 10 games back from a strained groin by going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and his first RBI since April 16. It was his first multi-hit game since April 29.

Escobar started and finished the six-run rally in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 7-3 win over the Marlins, first on an infield hit and then with a run-scoring single to left.

He got as many hits in the seventh inning as he had in the previous seven games. But Escobar said afterward, he didn’t feel that different at the plate.

“I’ve been hitting the same since I got back; I just needed to find the holes,” Escobar said with teammate Gregor Blanco interpreting. “I tried to be myself. Today I got my luck back. I’ve just got to keep playing hard and doing the little things to help the team win.”

Escobar started the season with five RBIs against the Cubs on Opening Day, but had driven in just three runs in 31 games since entering Wednesday. He is hitting .188 on the season.

This is a guy who was third in the majors (min. 100 at-bats) with a .373 average with runners in scoring position last year. He’s someone many considered to be the MVP of the Braves offense last year.

“Escobar had two hits tonight which was good and lined out once last night,” manager Bobby Cox said after Wednesday’s game. “So maybe he will get going and be a big part of the offense. He always has been. He’s been a lifetime .300 hitter, so we expect him to hit.”

Escobar has always hit well in his adopted hometown of Miami. The Cuba native raised his average Wednesday to .330 (29-for-88) with 13 RBIs in 24 career games at Sun Life Stadium, playing in front of his mother, father and sister.

Escobar had said prior to Wednesday’s game he’d tried opening his stance and raising his hands and got the same results. But he was still holding his head up.

“I haven’t lost my confidence,” Escobar said with Blanco translating. “I have a strong mind. I feel like I need to help the team, and I’m ready for it.”

Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said at times, he’d gotten pull-happy.

“I’m just trying to get him to relax, and stay up the middle and the other way,” Pendleton said. “Let the pitcher’s mistake dictate what he does with the baseball. He’s hitting balls hard. He’s had some tough luck throughout this ugly batting average. It doesn’t reflect how hard he’s hit some balls.”

42 comments Add your comment

DaveinNEPA

May 26th, 2010
7:14 pm

If Escobar doesn’t start to show signs of coming out of ths funk in the next couple of days, I would advocate sending him down to Gwinnett to work on things in a less stressful environment.

Mudcat

May 26th, 2010
7:28 pm

It’s not like he’s striking out all the time. He’s making contact so hopefully he’s close to breaking out of it. Patience may be the cure here.

JohnSmith

May 26th, 2010
7:29 pm

Agreed, Dave. Infante is a more than capable backup in the meantime.

Mudcat

May 26th, 2010
7:36 pm

It would also help if we had a real hitting coach,

warrens braves

May 26th, 2010
7:48 pm

hes pull happy, doesnt hit the ball the other way. which is what made him so good the last 2 years. when he starts to put the ball the other way, he will come out of it.

NRBQ

May 26th, 2010
10:17 pm

TP has learned the BC soundbite method.

He’s hitting the ball hard. Good kid. Just bad hitting luck. He’s coming around.

Reid in EAV

May 26th, 2010
10:17 pm

Two for three with an RBI, walk and run scored tonight. More articles like this on slumping players, please! ;-)

Carroll Rogers

May 26th, 2010
11:56 pm

Reid in EAV….you knew that was going to happen after i wrote this, eh?!

bigboi

May 26th, 2010
11:59 pm

I wonder if TP will get credit when he comes out of this slump

Mathman

May 27th, 2010
12:07 am

Carroll, could you please write something nice about McLouse then? He doesn’t look like he is coming out of his slump.

Carroll Rogers

May 27th, 2010
12:32 am

Mathman i tried last week with McLouth but had a hard time tracking him down for a quote….he didn’t know that he needs me.

Tomas

May 27th, 2010
12:35 am

Melky has his average above Chipper now. I think he should get the start in center field for the time being.

is30303

May 27th, 2010
2:43 am

Can someone in the media please write a story defending, criticizing, or otherwise addressing TP??

TP is the hitting coach and obviously the teams lackluster hitting is not entirely his fault but what is going on with the silence?

Tomy Fournier

May 27th, 2010
9:39 am

ALL THE TEAM ARE “TRASH”…BUT THE MUST”MORON COX”..AND CHIPPER..PLEASE..OUT OF HERE!!!!

LJ

May 27th, 2010
9:46 am

2 hits? really one, home scorer didn’t want to score error, but be real, it was.

bvillebaron

May 27th, 2010
9:46 am

Dave:

Escobar gets his first multi-hit game after coming off the DL and you are suggesting that he should possibly be sent down to Gwinnett if he doesn’t show signs of coming out of his funk. Nice timing. In addition to there being absolutely no purpose in sending Escobar to AAA, do you know whether he has any options left?

Wes

May 27th, 2010
9:49 am

Remember the day when Escobar was removed from the DL? Bobby Cox benched Omar Infante (who was filling in for Escobar), and he went 4-for-4 against the D-Backs the previous night. I just don’t understand why Bobby Cox would bench players if they’re hot.

He should definitely bench Melky (who has turned out to be a liability), and play Hinske in LF.

RC THE BRAVES FAN

May 27th, 2010
9:53 am

CARROL,Why dont matt diaz ever get the start he was like the best hitter when he got to start him and prodo lead thim to all those wins at the end of the season. Write an article about that.

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
9:54 am

Agree, Tomas.

Melky is now 8 for his last 20.

He had a terrible start, but you don’t judge a player based on 113 ABs, especially a switch hitter adjusting to a new league, who’s all of 25 years old.

It was obvious, but his BABIP and BB/K rates, that his numbers would go up. His line drive percentage last season was the best of his still brief career, and there was very little line drive activity early on. That wasn’t him – he’s becoming more like himself, now.

But really, if people were expecting Albert Pujols, that’s not about to happen. Cabrera can hit, though, and he can play defense. Give him a chance in CF, especially with his stick heating up.

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
9:57 am

*by his BABIP and BB/K rates…

Almost Friday!

May 27th, 2010
10:12 am

Is anyone else shocked that we are only 2 1/2 back. Just imagine if we won at least 3 durring that 9 game losing streak. Also, consider the games that have been lost by certain lineups and bullpen usage. I think it shows how good this team can be when used the correct way!

JT Grace

May 27th, 2010
10:22 am

It’s funny that people are still whining about Melky when he has been one of the hottest hitters on the team the last month. He also has a cannon for an arm (unlike McLouth). It’s time to give the starting job in CF back to Melky. Let Hinske and Infante platoon in LF.

As for Yunel, he is one of the best young shortstops in the game. He looks to be back to his old self now.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
10:40 am

RC… Diaz is on the DL right now.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
10:41 am

Melky still sucks btw. He’s made one good defensive play all year and is finding some infield holes, big whoop, trade him while he looks like he might be worth something.

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
10:57 am

JT Grace
May 27th, 2010
10:22 am

It’s funny that people are still whining about Melky when he has been one of the hottest hitters on the team the last month. He also has a cannon for an arm (unlike McLouth). It’s time to give the starting job in CF back to Melky. Let Hinske and Infante platoon in LF.
/////

Just proves that people get invested in an emotionally-driven position and don’t bother to check in and see what’s actually going on outside of their small mindedness.

That, and many don’t even know how to recognize the signs of a hitter coming around.

Jesse Stone

May 27th, 2010
10:59 am

LJ, that wasn’t an error, it was a hit. He also lined out to center. Everything evens out.

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
10:59 am

Hey Marc in FL, I can play that game too. You suck, Marc. Hey! That was easy! No qualifiers, no intelligent frame of reference, just “You suck!” Hahahaha! How clever I am!

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
11:14 am

For some reason, you can’t get an error ruled against you this season. They’re giving way too many hits in general, but if they do it for everyone, then I suppose it’s evenhanded.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
12:27 pm

I shouldn’t have to qualify the obvious william…

Melky Cabrera –

2010:

-2.6 UZR, -8.2 UZR/150
-1.3 Arm
.984 Fielding Percentage (.968 in LF where he’s mostly played)

But of course that’s all fielding crap which doesn’t matter, just as long as they’re fun to watch with a bat.

His last 7 games, he’s smoking hot right?

I mean .500 AVG, .750 SLG, 1.288 OPS – those are good numbers!

Ohh, wait, that’s only 13 PA’s; a pitcher could mimic those numbers in a good three game stretch. His OBP is .538, almost the same as his AVG. No doubles or triples, one homerun.

Past 14 games, 23 Pa’s, .400 AVG, .455 OBP, .550 SLG, 1.005 OPS, no doubles or triples, still just that one homerun on the 22nd, which also accounts for his only RBI in the last 14 days.

In other words, he hit one homerun to bolster his SLG and OPS the last two weeks while otherwise is still hitting mostly ground balls and pop ups. He’s found some holes lately on the infield, he’ll need to find a lot more if he keeps his ground ball rate above 50% all season. And has been doing this while making one above average play all year (on a throw) while otherwise playing below average defense all year.

But he has hit 5.9out o% of his fly balls f the park in May, ahead of McLouth (3.7%) and Infante (5.3%), so he’s justified a slugger now I suppose. Just don’t look at their GB/FB ratios… Melky’s 22.7% infield hits might lead one to believe he’s been getting lucky an aweful lot lately, and we wouldn’t want that. Hey, Medlen and Conrad are actually better in that with 25%! Hewyard is actually 29% this month, but we all know people run the opposite direction in fear when he hits a ground ball at them, so that one is explained.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
12:29 pm

Typing with a dying keyboard is a mistake, my bad for the final paragraph garble.

Steve Grijalva

May 27th, 2010
12:35 pm

Can someone tell me why Bobby Cox refuses to move Chipper out of the spot in the batting order?

Steve Grijalva

May 27th, 2010
12:37 pm

I’m sorry,I meant to say third spot.

Steve Grijalva

May 27th, 2010
12:45 pm

So I guess no one can tell me.Is it a state secret?

RC THE BRAVES FAN

May 27th, 2010
12:45 pm

Marc i did not no that but melky sucks his only had not very many at bat and anyone can have a good day like the day willie harris went 6 for 6 he had a good game but he wasnt that good melky was a horrible trade for javier a person with a 2 something era but couldnt get run support who ever is suggesting the trades for the braves is stupid.

RC THE BRAVES FAN

May 27th, 2010
12:48 pm

steve its because they think his going to come around a phenominal 2008 season and now his like in the biggest slump of his career his getting to old

Steve Grijalva

May 27th, 2010
1:05 pm

The Braves seem to be on a roll now,I really believe they have to rethink having Chipper and McClouth in the line up.

DaveinNEPA

May 27th, 2010
1:11 pm

B-ville Baron….Did you bother to check to see what time I made my post? I made that post just as last night’s game was starting.

And in answer to your post, one game does not necessarily mean that Escobar is out of his funk. I still stand by what I originally posted.

RC THE BRAVES FAN

May 27th, 2010
1:13 pm

Does any one no what the lineup is today

williamshakespeare

May 27th, 2010
3:57 pm

On the contrary, being able to get on via the infield hit means he has speed.

In fact, he has more speed than is generally supposed, because people get blinded by “body type”. He doesn’t look like Alex Rios, but he can run, and he gets good jumps. The UZR and even UZR/150 is generally a crock of crap.

Cabrera is a very good outfielder; although he doesn’t have blinding speed, he has a very good first step, which means he’s going in the right direction off the bat because he can read the ball off it.

Also, has a strong arm, and can play all 3 OF positions.

Back to infield hits: being able to get on via an infield hit is a virtue, especially if you can also hit line drives to move and knock in runners, which he can. He hits the ball down the lines and up through the middle. Also can hit from the right side as well, so he’s a real switch hitter, not one in name only.

What people like you don’t grasp is that this is still a player on a learning curve. He didn’t spend enough time in the minors and really began his tutelage as a hitter last offseason. Result was, more line drives than ever before, including as a RHB, and more power.

Frankly, you don’t have a clue about what kind of player he is nor what his ceiling is.

He’s going to go on a sustained hitting streak and probably will wind up hitting .280-.290 for the season, with a .360 OBP and 15 homers or so. That’s not bad at all, and it certainly doesn’t “suck” – your clueless word.

And if you’re going to harp on one HR skewing his slug, why are you convinced hitting .200 – in 113 ABs – is some defining sample size? It’s about .068 lower than his career norm, thus far.

Not very convincing.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
4:47 pm

You’re trying to say Melky is going to hit .280-.290 on the season? His career AVG is .267 in almost 2,300 PA’s, and don’t tell me that’s not a large enough sample size, lol. He hit .280 once, in 06′ (when he had a .360 OBP – has not come close to that either).

The fact he was in the Yankees line-up probably added 10-20 points to his AVG, I mean it’d just be stupid to pitch around Melky on that team.

You’re welcome to your opinion, but you really have no reason to suggest Melky is going to hit anywhere near .280 this year. The guy is a 4th outfielder making over 3mil on a team that can barely afford 3mil total on it’s bench. He had 1,700 minor league plate appearances, about as many as Jordan Schafer.

It’s nothing personal, I just think he sucks. We can both find stats to support our argument, but I think mine are more convincing.

Marc in FL

May 27th, 2010
4:50 pm

And people using his recent surge as a “Melky is going to hit!” campaign shouldn’t be suggesting that the rest of the season thus far doesn’t count. If 113 ABs don’t count then how can 24 ABs count? lol

nique

May 27th, 2010
5:43 pm

Melky really does suck. He’s fat too. I’d much rather have McClouth batting and fielding than Melky. And no question that Hinske should start in left every game.

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