Until Adam Dunn starts hitting like Adam Dunn, the Sox lineup will be flawed. But batting Brent Morel second just makes things worse.
I like what Morel has done this season. But that has everything to do with the 24-year-old's defensive ability, which has drawn valid comparisons to the great Joe Crede. As a No. 9 hitter, it was easy to put up with Morel's offensive struggles, because you don't expect the last hitter in the lineup to bring much to the table at the plate.
But as a No. 2 hitter, Morel is completely out of place. The second player in the batting order should be one with a high on-base percentage who is adept at driving in runs, not a guy with a .567 OPS. The idea of a No. 2 hitter's first job being to move the leadoff hitter along on the basepaths is silly, especially when you consider Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko have combined for 38 home runs and 33 doubles.
Juan Pierre will score on all of the home runs (obviously) and pretty much all of the doubles no matter if he's on first or second. But that's if Pierre is on first or second. If Morel is batting second to move a guy with a .313 OBP from first to second or second to third, it makes the strategy even worse.
Essentially, Morel is batting second because he can move a runner who doesn't get on base much up a base in front of one of baseball's better 1-2 power combinations. None of that reasoning makes sense.
And Morel can't possibly be hitting second because of offensive success. Since May started, yes, he does have a .275 batting average. But this isn't 1880. Morel has negated his fairly-sound hitting by only taking one walk this season, leading to a .286 on-base percentage since May 1 and a .257 OBP overall, the worst on the Sox.
Moving Alexei Ramirez out of the No. 2 hole was a fine move by Ozzie Guillen, as he's offered good protection to the red-hot Paul Konerko. Ramirez hasn't hit the ball too well since being dropped from No. 2, but it's over a small sample size. I'm hardly concerned about his .636 OPS over his last five games.
But Guillen seems to be about three weeks late on his decisions regarding lineup construction. A.J. Pierzynski will hit eighth tonight against Washington despite raising his OPS over .700 for the season thanks to an .860 OPS since the start of June. He's hit the ball very well as of late and shouldn't be buried at No. 8 in the lineup—he'd be a fine candidate to hit second until he comes back to earth, even if it means the Sox have to lead off with two left-handers.
Doing that would be better than leading off with two of the team's worst hitters, though. And that's exactly what the Sox are doing.