If you're paying close attention, you might have noticed that over the last few weeks, Milwaukee's batting order has gone as follows, regardless of the players who occupy each position:
For sake of brevity, I'm going to call this Ned's "Money Order."
As I was curious about how long this has gone on, I had the Chuckie Hacks research staff pore over box scores to identify exactly when the Money Order trend began and how consistent it has been. In short, the results were shocking.
In August, Ned has gone with his Money Order for each of the 19 games played. You have to go all the way back to July 31, the final game of the Cubs series, to find a game in which Ned did not go to the Money Order (in that game, which was pure desperation time for the Brewers, Counsell played 3B and hit 2nd, Hardy played SS and hit 3rd, Braun played LF and hit 5th and Kapler played RF and hit 6th).
Amazingly, since July 6, Ned has gone with the Money Order in 39 out of 40 games, with July 31 being the only exception.
- The famous 8/14 game against Jake Peavy, when Craig Counsell played SS and hit 2nd and Laynce Nix started in LF and hit 3rd. It was just shocking that the team managed only 2 runs that game with that duo at the top of the lineup.
- All of the games that Ryan Braun has missed with his intercostal thingy; in each case his replacement (usually Kapler) has hit 3rd. Although Kapler has generally been decent as a replacement, he isn't a #3 hitter. This burned Milwaukee when he came up with the bases loaded and 2 outs twice on Tuesday, and failed each time.
- All games in which Counsell played 3B or SS - meaning that he hit either 6th or 2nd depending upon the position that he played. Honestly, if Counsell has to play, he needs to hit 7th or 8th. Not 2nd or 6th.
Ned also used the Money Order 7 times in mid-late June.
Seriously, if Prince played catcher for some reason, would he bat 8th? Based on the research, I think you'd have to say yes, he would.
Obviously, this is insane. Nobody does their lineup based strictly upon the postion that the player plays. I'm not a Ned hater. In fact, I've generally been a Ned defender. But conventional wisdom would tell you that batting Kapler 3rd every game that Braun doesn't play is nuts. In that situation, Hart should hit 3rd, with Cameron hitting 5th. Counsell should never, ever, ever, ever bat 2nd and he has no business batting 6th either. If he plays, he hits 7th or 8th. Look, the idea is to get your best hitters more at bats, and your sluggers more at bats with the potential for runners to be on base.
But the craziest thing? The Money Order works. In the 39 games that Ned used it since July 6, the Brewers are 24-15. In the 7 games that Ned used the Money Order in June, the Brewers were 5-2. That's 29-17 in 46 games with the Money Order since mid-June.
Meaning that the Money Order will be sticking around for a while - and if they win 63% of their games the rest of the way using the Money Order, then I'm OK with it. But I have to believe the Money Order is costing the team runs when Counsell and Kapler bat way out of position.