Now that The Riot, has been inserted into the lineup as a much of a regular as any other player besides the Big Three of Lee, A-Ram and The Fonz, it's time to look at who really belongs in that two hole. First clue, it's not The Riot.
Our fearless LSU alum deserves the leadoff spot. If Piniella can get over his man crush of Soriano, which I think he just might, the lineup would fall into place quicker than Rosie O'Donnell can say Gulf of Tonkin, Google it!
The Cubs are loaded with run producing hitters but are a little thin on high OBP guys.
I don't know of any successful lineup that is configured without it's most disciplined hitters at the top of the order. So who deserves to be in that two hole following The Riot?
Well first let's look at a couple of factors that are unique to the two spot in the order. First, besides a high OBP is the ability to advance the runner on base in front of you. Not usually a quality of a free swinging power hitter. Next, the ability to hit down in the count so as to allow the leadoff man an opportunity to steal. Again not usually a quality of a free swinging power hitter. Let's face it, when you have the team's best hitter on deck, a free swinger in the two hole just doesn't make any sense.
We now have to examine what is lost in the way of run production by placing an extra base hitting machine in the two hole. First, you weaken the bottom of the order's ability to drive in runs with fewer men on base in front of him. For example, even with Soriano's recent surge in hitting his OBP is still no higher than DeRosa's, Murton's or even Jones. It would appear that more RBI potential is lost with Soriano hitting second than having either of the aforementioned three, not to mention Soriano's lack of patience that doesn't allow him to advance the leadoff man or even allow him a chance to steal a base.
Murton and DeRosa have shown as RH sticks, the ability to hit behind the runner, there power isn't prodigious, therefore you're not sacrificing an RBI machine in the two hole who could produce more runs scored lower in the lineup, and you'd probably help them both with their batting average hitting immediately in front of Lee.
The 3, 4 & 5 hitters of Lee, A-Ram and The Fonz, would be as potent as any in baseball providing plenty of run scoring opportunities with high OBP hitters on base in front of them. You also still have a solid bottom of the order with Barrett and the Jones/Floyd/Murton/DeRosa revolving door depending on who's starting, therefore taking most of the pressure off Pie to contribute offensively.
The starting rotation has been more than solid enough for the Cubs to be at least be a 500 team, but the lack of runs scored is the sticking point even taking into account the bullpen has given up a few games. The Cubs just need more base cloggers on base before the middle of the lineup and the runs will come.
Piniella has to get Soriano out of the top of the order.