Braves need Escobar to get on track

Can Yunel Escobar turn things around? He's in a massive slump.

It was yet another tough night for Atlanta shortstop Yunel Escobar. He went 0-3 with a walk and made an error in the field in the series opener against the Florida Marlins.

Escobar is now hitting .175 on the season, with only 20 hits in 114 at bats. He's yet to hit a home run this year, and he's got only eight runs batted in.

We are one week away from Escobar's third anniversary of his big league debut, which happened on June 2, 2007. And this poor stretch he is in is the worst of his career.

As you look over his career stats, Escobar's second-worst stretch of his career came in July of 2008. He hit .230 that month, with no home runs and 10 RBI in 74 at bats.

And you combine his .279 batting average that next month, in August 2008, and for the two-month stretch that summer Escobar hit .258.

That's about it. If you look over the other months of Escobar's career, he's either over .300 or close to it. That's how consistent he's been at the plate.

That's also what makes this stretch hard to accept. He's shown he's a better hitter than this, and you just have to believe Escobar is close to breaking out of this slump.

Since Escobar returned from his abductor injury, he's hit .086 (3-35) with no runs batted in. So even the two-week break didn't snap him out of it.

Escobar was a career .301 hitter as a big leaguer coming into this season. He hit .299 last year with 14 home runs and 76 RBI. That established him as one of the best offensive shortstops in the game.

But the Braves are still looking for that player. They need him quickly. While the offense has been better in May, it will get much better and be more productive if the old Yunel Escobar shows up soon.

Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at and follow him on Twitter at

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