Where to Bat Markakis?

The past two days it seems Dave Trembley is starting to find some stability in his lineup. With the addition of Corey Patterson leading off, perhaps the chips are falling in place and Trembley won't be forced to fiddle with the lineup every single night. There's something to be said for finding what works and sticking with it.

Look at the good teams in the league. They know who their 1-4 guys are every night. The only change is based on righties or lefties on the mound, but for the most part, those four slots don't deviate.

As the rain delay continues on, I'm going to pass the time by counting how many different lineups Trembley has run out there this year. I'm guessing 25.

One of our bloggers wanted more information about Nick Markakis' numbers batting second vs batting third in the lineup, and wanted to know why Dave Trembley has Markakis in the three hole now after using him in the two hole in the beginning of the season.

First the numbers:

Markakis has 553 career at bats in the two hole where he has a .328 batting average. In the three hole Nick has 1439 career at bats with a .286 batting average. So, as Kevyn our blogger expected, Markakis has a higher average lifetime batting second in the lineup.

However, you aren't comparing apples to apples. Since Markakis has had nearly three times more at bats in the three hole vs. the two hole, you are dealing with two very different sample sizes. It's not conclusive to say he's a better two hole hitter because of that fact. The more at bats you have, the harder it is to maintain a high average.

The same can be said for this year. Trembley has batted Markakis 86 times in the three hole. That's twice as many at bats than Markakis' 46 at bats in the two hole. He does have a better average in the two hole (.326 vs .291), but again, it's not statistically accurate to draw a conclusion.

Remember numbers don't tell the whole picture.

Personally I like Markakis in the three hole. He's as consistent as they get and is one of the Orioles best RBI threats right now. In the three hole, he has a chance for some runners to get on base in front of him and knock them in. Plus, you want your two hole hitter to steal some bases and have some speed. Though the O's have always wanted Nick to steal more, he doesn't feel comfortable. He has one stolen base this year. I say put the runners on and let him hit a double.

One more factor to consider. You have to protect Markakis in the lineup. Miguel Tejada does that. Even though he's not a true clean up hitter, he makes it so that Markakis will get good pitches to hit.