(awesome illustration from Tim Souers of Cubby Blue, click on the image for the full-size)
More after the jump...
A few days ago I put up a poll on some of the lineup atrocities over the years, which Neifi ran away with at 73% of the vote, but this continued mess of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hitting ahead of Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto finished a distant second at 11% (with Soriano hitting leadoff finishing just behind at 10%). Anyway, how about contextualizing the current atrocity in numbers thanks to Baseball Prospectus (ROB is Runners on Base).
As you can see, the two guys struggling the most have had the most opportunities to drive in runs thanks to batting in the middle of the order. On top of that, thanks to their struggles, there isn't anyone on-base for Soriano while he is hitting. It's a double whammy of lineup stupidity. Just to compare, Chris Young of Arizona and Raul Ibanez of Philly are two other NL #6 hitters with a similar number of at-bats and Young has had 95 ROB in a 144 PA and Ibanez has had 90 ROB in a 130 PA.
Now let's add a column of OBI% or Others Batted In. When we talk about a guy being a run producer, this is where they should be excelling at, driving in the other guys on base in front of them (16-17% is the average). Granted, it's a number that fluctuates quite a bit from year-to-year, but you gotta take advantage of the hot hitters.
I wouldn't worry about Soto much, he just gets walked whenever someone is on-base so they can face the pitchers, but while Lee and Ramirez struggle, Soriano is basically just being back to a leadoff man in the middle of the order. Maybe that was Lou's plan all along.
Today, nothing changes with Theriot, Byrd, Lee, Nady, Ramirez, Soriano, Soto, Castro and Gorzelanny set to battle the Pirates lefty Brian Burres.