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EVERYONE Charlie Manuel runs into these days has an opinion on what he should do with his batting order. He could be out having dinner, and someone will come up to him and say, "Charlie, if I were you... " Invariably, the suggestion is to insert Bobby Abreu into the leadoff spot and drop Jimmy Rollins down in the order. The consensus seems to be that if he simply does that, you can begin printing those World Series tickets.

In the spirit of lending Charlie even more of a helping hand, the Daily News contacted Mark Pankin, a mathematics wizard from Virginia who has developed one of the more sophisticated computer models to analyze the productivity of baseball lineups. Inputting the career statistics of the eight regulars through May 21, Pankin assessed the run-scoring ability of a lineup typically used by Manuel and then attempted to come up with one that would be even better.

Interestingly, the average run totals produced by both were very close. In fact, they were so close that the computer-preferred lineup accounted for just 6.48 extra runs per season against righthanded pitchers and 7.45 against lefthanders. In that Pankin says "a general and usually good rule of thumb" is that 10 extra runs should translate into one more win during the course of a season, one could extrapolate that the highest-scoring lineup Pankin could come up with would account for perhaps one extra win over 162 games.

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