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Week 15 Fantasy Pitching Planner

Eric Mack
Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

We go around baseball's rotations during the All-Star break in our weekly Pitching Planner. We project every matchup, outlining who should start and who might not and recommended sleepers and busts. The means we consider them a recommended start. The means we suggest you consider a replacement option. The teams have if we deem their week's matchups favorable and if their week's matchups are deemed unfavorable.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. Dan Haren at SD Garland
  2. Rodrigo Lopez at SD Richard
  3. Edwin Jackson at SD Correia
  4. Ian Kennedy won't start
  5. Barry Enright won't start

One-week sleeper: Jackson. He has a 8.10 ERA in his two starts since his no-hitter, but he is facing the Padres and has had plenty of rest.
One-week bust: Lopez. He is pitching better than Jackson and has a comparable ERA to Haren, but there is no way you should trust him outside of NL-only formats, even against the Padres.

Atlanta Braves

  1. Jair Jurrjens vs MIL Bush
  2. Tommy Hanson vs MIL Wolf
  3. Tim Hudson vs MIL Narveson
  4. Derek Lowe vs MIL Parra
  5. Kris Medlen won't start

One-week sleeper: Jurrens. He is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA on the season, but that is affected by one terrible start before his hamstring injury. He is fine now and a must-start.
One-week bust: Medlen. He won't be needed this week and might even be skipped next Tuesday, which means he might be considered out of the bullpen this weekend. Don't use him in any league.

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Baltimore Orioles

  1. Brad Bergesen vs TOR Romero
  2. Jeremy Guthrie vs TOR Morrow
  3. Brian Matusz vs TOR Marcum
  4. Chris Tillman won't start
  5. Jake Arrieta won't start

One-week sleeper: Matusz. He has kicked his early season funk and is a viable sleeper in deeper leagues again.
One-week bust: Tillman. He is coming off the best start of his career, but he is likely to get a break until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25).

Boston Red Sox

  1. Tim Wakefield vs TEX Hunter
  2. Felix Doubront vs TEX Lewis
  3. John Lackey vs TEX Lee
  4. Jon Lester vs TEX Wilson
  5. Daisuke Matsuzaka won't start

One-week sleeper: Lackey. He is drawing the potent, first-place Rangers and struggled going into the break, but he is the type of ace on a top contender you should just leave in your lineup through thick and thin.
One-week bust: Dice-K. We cannot, for the life of us, figure out why the Red Sox would start the rookie Doubront in place of DL'd aces Clay Buchholz (hamstring) and Josh Beckett (back) instead of the healthy and rested Matsuzaka. Very strange. They are a bit too lenient with their front-line guys. Are they really in a position to be so patient? Let's go! Not only is it time to crank it up for Fantasy owners, but the Red Sox have the Yankees and Rays to catch, too. Doubront is a high-risk option for AL-only leagues.

Chicago Cubs

  1. Ryan Dempster vs PHI Moyer
  2. Ted Lilly vs PHI Blanton
  3. Randy Wells vs PHI Hamels
  4. Tom Gorzelanny vs PHI Halladay
  5. Carlos Silva won't start

One-week sleeper: Wells. He kicked his slump and has a 2.18 ERA and 18 strikeouts in his past three starts. He hasn't faced the Phillies in his career, so if you buy into the theory of the unknown ...
One-week bust: Lilly and Silva. Lilly is struggling and facing the Phillies, while Silva is getting rest until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25).

Chicago White Sox

  1. John Danks at MIN Slowey
  2. Gavin Floyd at MIN Liriano
  3. Mark Buehrle at MIN Pavano
  4. Freddy Garcia at MIN Blackburn
  5. Daniel Hudson won't start

One-week sleeper: Floyd. He is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his past three starts heading into the break. He is a nice pickup if he was dropped in mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Hudson. Although he figures to remain in the rotation after a bad season debut, he will rest until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25).

Top 10 Pitchers Added
Player % Change
1. Travis Wood, SP, Reds 25
2. Daniel Hudson, SP, White Sox 21
3. Vicente Padilla, SP, Dodgers 17
4. Bronson Arroyo, SP, Reds 10
5. Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants 8
6. Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Astros 7
7. James McDonald, RP, Dodgers 7
8. Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds 6
9. Jonathon Niese, SP, Mets 6
10. Tommy Hunter, SP, Rangers 6

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Bronson Arroyo vs COL Hammel
  2. Edinson Volquez vs COL De La Rosa
  3. Johnny Cueto vs COL Cook
  4. Mike Leake won't start
  5. Travis Wood won't start

One-week sleeper: Arroyo. He is the only confirmed Reds starter for their three-game week and the only one we could advise. The Reds are going to evaluate Aaron Harang (back) and Volquez (elbow) before announcing the rest of their rotation. We speculate Cueto and Volquez get turns against the Rockies with the rest sitting, but that isn't set in stone yet.
One-week bust: Leake and Wood. We are pretty sure the young arms will get needed rest until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25), if they even stay in the rotation for the second half. They are best not used in Fantasy, nor is Harang or Volquez, who is best stashed on the DL until his return is official.

Cleveland Indians

  1. Jake Westbrook vs DET Scherzer
  2. Fausto Carmona vs DET Verlander
  3. Mitch Talbot vs DET Porcello
  4. Justin Masterson vs DET Bonderman
  5. Aaron Laffey won't start

One-week sleeper: Carmona. He is decent in his past three starts and against the Tigers in his career with ERAs in both splits around 3.50. He's the only Indians starter that is trustworthy in mixed leagues right now.
One-week bust: Everyone not named Carmona. Westbrook, Talbot (in Game 2 of a Saturday doubleheader) and Masterson have confirmed starts, while Laffey is starting Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25). None of these should be used in mixed leagues.

Colorado Rockies

  1. Jason Hammel at CIN Arroyo
  2. Jorge De La Rosa at CIN Volquez
  3. Aaron Cook at CIN Cueto
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez won't start
  5. Jeff Francis won't start

One-week sleeper: Hammel. He has been hot of late and is a viable start in all leagues heading into the second half.
One-week bust: Jimenez. Your Fantasy ace is on the bench in the brief Fantasy Week 15 (July 15-18) after the All-Star break.

Detroit Tigers

  1. Max Scherzer at CLE Westbrook
  2. Justin Verlander at CLE Carmona
  3. Rick Porcello at CLE Talbot
  4. Andrew Oliver at CLE Masterson
  5. Jeremy Bonderman won't start

One-week sleeper: Porcello. A doubleheader necessitates a six-man rotation and Porcello will get a look back up from Triple-A, where he was 1-2 with a 3.21 ERA. He is worth taking a flier on, especially with some starters not getting a turn this week. That's a great matchup for him.
One-week bust: Bonderman. He hasn't been pitching well and got pulled from his Sunday start in favor of Oliver late Thursday.

Florida Marlins

  1. Ricky Nolasco vs WAS Strasburg
  2. Josh Johnson vs WAS Hernandez
  3. Anibal Sanchez vs WAS Stammen
  4. Nate Robertson won't start
  5. Alex Sanabia won't start

One-week sleeper: Sanchez. He is facing the Nationals and not Strasburg. That makes him intriguing enough for mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Robertson and Sanabia. They aren't worth owning in mixed leagues, but they aren't starting this week anyway.

Houston Astros

  1. Brett Myers at PIT Duke
  2. Bud Norris at PIT Ohlendorf
  3. Roy Oswalt at PIT Maholm
  4. Wandy Rodriguez won't start
  5. Felipe Paulino (shoulder, DL) and Brian Moehler won't start

One-week sleeper: Norris. Myers and Oswalt are owned in many leagues, but Norris is not. He strikes out more than a batter per inning and draws the lowly Pirates. He should be productive enough to slot in a mixed-league rotation this week. Norris is better than he showed in the first half and the Pirates are terrible.
One-week bust: Rodriguez. He was making progress late in the first half, but he rests before Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25). He has to sit.

Monday
By the Numbers: Al Melchior examines BABIP trends that forecast potential long-term trends
Tuesday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Sliders: Scott White highlights his risers and fallers
Wednesday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
LIVE writer chat: Our writers answer your questions about prospects, rotations, lineups and much more every Wednesday
Dear Mr. Fantasy: Scott White touches on some of the hot topic issues facing owners
By the Numbers: Al Melchior breaks down compelling Fantasy data to assist owners in predicting future production
Thursday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Friday
Prospects Report: Eric Mack spotlights top prospects on the brink of making an impact in Fantasy
Hitting Planner: Scott White analyzes the state of all 30 lineups and shares his top sleepers for the week
Saturday
Splitsville: Jeff Lippman highlights some statistical splits that owners should take advantage of
Sunday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Pitching Planner: Eric Mack addresses all 30 rotations and highlights two-start pitchers
LIVE writer chat: Scott White spends 90 minutes fielding your questions every Sunday at 5 p.m. ET
Follow us via Twitter!

Kansas City Royals

  1. Zack Greinke vs OAK Gonzalez
  2. Bruce Chen vs OAK Cahill
  3. Brian Bannister vs Mazzaro
  4. Kyle Davies won't start
  5. Anthony Lerew won't start

One-week sleeper: Chen. He had pitched surprisingly well and is actually useful in deeper leagues with that matchup against the A's.
One-week bust: Bannister. He might be a .500 pitcher facing a sub-.500 A's team, but he isn't pitching well enough to be useful outside of AL-only leagues right now.

Los Angeles Angels

  1. Joel Pineiro vs SEA Fister
  2. Jered Weaver vs SEA Hernandez
  3. Joe Saunders vs SEA Rowland-Smith
  4. Ervin Santana vs SEA Vargas
  5. Scott Kazmir won't start

One-week sleeper: Pineiro. He scorched into the break with six consecutive quality starts. He might even be a must-start in all leagues this week, despite a mere 52 percent starting rate on CBSSports.com for Week 15.
One-week bust: Kazmir. He is getting skipped for the first two turns and frankly shouldn't be active in any Fantasy lineups amid his struggles anyway.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Clayton Kershaw at STL Carpenter
  2. Chad Billingsley at STL Garcia
  3. Hiroki Kuroda at STL Wainwright
  4. Vicente Padilla at STL Suppan
  5. James McDonald won't start

One-week sleeper: Padilla. He has been pitching well and draws the most favorable matchup of the week. Suppan is meat. A streaking Padilla can easily win that game.
One-week bust: Kuroda. He hasn't been pitching well in his past three starts and is facing a starter who just doesn't lose at home.

Milwaukee Brewers

  1. Dave Bush at ATL Jurrjens
  2. Randy Wolf at ATL Hanson
  3. Chris Narveson at ATL Hudson
  4. Manny Parra at ATL Lowe
  5. Doug Davis won't start

One-week sleeper: Bush and Wolf. They have sub-3.00 ERAs in their past three starts, so use them in deeper formats.
One-week bust: Narveson and Parra. They have ERAs over 7.00 in their past three starts, so consider them risky even in the deepest of NL-only leagues.

Minnesota Twins

  1. Kevin Slowey vs CHW Danks
  2. Francisco Liriano vs CHW Floyd
  3. Carl Pavano vs CHW Buehrle
  4. Nick Blackburn vs CHW Garcia
  5. Scott Baker won't start

One-week sleeper: Slowey. This is a hunch more than anything, but he is due for a much better second half that makes him a must-have in mixed leagues again.
One-week bust: Blackburn. We are far less confident in him retaining his rotation spot. It is making free agent Jarrod Washburn a lot more interesting come August. Washburn is fishing, though, not thinking baseball right now.

New York Mets

  1. R.A. Dickey at SF Lincecum
  2. Jonathon Niese at SF Zito
  3. Mike Pelfrey at SF Cain
  4. Johan Santana at SF Sanchez
  5. Hisanori Takahashi won't start

One-week sleeper: Niese. He draws the most favorable matchup among the Mets starters and has been mixed-league worthy since his return from the DL. He is still under the radar as a rookie in this huge rookie class.
One-week bust: Dickey. We cannot figure how he has done what he has and he is facing a ticked off and motivated Lincecum.

New York Yankees

  1. CC Sabathia vs TB Shields
  2. A.J. Burnett vs TB Niemann
  3. Andy Pettitte vs TB Price
  4. Phil Hughes won't start
  5. Javier Vazquez won't start

One-week sleeper: Burnett. He has righted himself and warrants starting in most leagues through thick and thin in the second half.
One-week bust: Hughes and Vazquez. They will be rested through the brief Fantasy Week 15 (July 15-18) after the All-Star break and could even be skipped at the start of Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25), too.

Oakland Athletics

  1. Gio Gonzalez at KC Greinke
  2. Trevor Cahill at KC Chen
  3. Vin Mazzaro at KC Bannister
  4. Ben Sheets won't start
  5. Dallas Braden (elbow) won't start

One-week sleeper: Mazzaro. He has been surprisingly good and draws the lowly Royals. He should be starting at least in all AL-only formats this week.
One-week bust: Sheets. He won't start until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25), when he likely will be a two-start pitcher.

Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Jamie Moyer at CHC Dempster
  2. Joe Blanton at CHC Lilly
  3. Cole Hamels at CHC Wells
  4. Roy Halladay at CHC Gorzelanny
  5. Kyle Kendrick won't start

One-week sleeper: Hamels. He is probably a must-start in all leagues with his recent performances, but we couldn't advise Moyer or Blanton here.
One-week bust: Blanton. His ERA is over 6.00 in his past three starts, so don't use him in mixed leagues.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Zach Duke vs HOU Myers
  2. Ross Ohlendorf vs HOU Norris
  3. Paul Maholm vs HOU Oswalt
  4. Jeff Karstens won't start
  5. Brad Lincoln won't start

One-week sleeper: Ohlendorf. He has a 0.90 ERA in his past three starts and draws the erratic Astros offense that had to change hitting coaches recently.
One-week bust: Duke. He isn't trustworthy enough to use in mixed leagues coming off the DL, but no Pirates starter is.

San Diego Padres

  1. Jon Garland vs ARI Haren
  2. Clayton Richard vs ARI Lopez
  3. Kevin Correia vs ARI Jackson
  4. Mat Latos won't start
  5. Wade LeBlanc won't start

One-week sleeper: Richard. He struggled going into the break, but he draws a favorable matchup that should make him a useful sleeper in deeper formats.
One-week bust: Correia. He has been one of the few disappointments in the Padres' upstart rotation. Don't trust him in mixed leagues.

San Francisco Giants

  1. Tim Lincecum vs NYM Dickey
  2. Barry Zito vs NYM Niese
  3. Matt Cain vs NYM Pelfrey
  4. Jonathan Sanchez vs NYM Santana
  5. Madison Bumgarner won't start

One-week sleeper: Cain. He struggled mightily going into the break, but he remains a talented enough pitcher to stick with through thick and thin.
One-week bust: Sanchez. He has an ERA over 6.00 in his past three starts and is facing a red-hot Santana. You have reason to sit him if you have viable alternatives.

Seattle Mariners

  1. Doug Fister at LAA Pineiro
  2. Felix Hernandez at LAA Weaver
  3. Ryan Rowland-Smith at LAA Saunders
  4. Jason Vargas at LAA Santana
  5. vacant won't start

One-week sleeper: None. We only trust King Felix in mixed leagues this week and he is a must-start in those formats through thick and thin, regardless of matchups.
One-week bust: Fister and Vargas. They had their moments in the first half and have pitched well against the Angels, but they struggled going into the break and we expect their struggles to continue throughout the second half.

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Chris Carpenter vs LAD Kershaw
  2. Jaime Garcia vs LAD Billingsley
  3. Adam Wainwright vs LAD Kuroda
  4. Jeff Suppan vs LAD Padilla
  5. Blake Hawksworth won't start

One-week sleeper: None. The top three are must starts.
One-week bust: Suppan. The Cardinals shouldn't be trusting him as their No. 4. It should be Hawksworth. They will find that out for themselves. Don't trust Suppan in any league this week.

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. James Shields at NYY Sabathia
  2. Jeff Niemann at NYY Burnett
  3. David Price at NYY Pettitte
  4. Wade Davis won't start
  5. Matt Garza won't start

One-week sleeper: Niemann. You might be surprised to know he has a 2.93 ERA in three starts against the Yankees in his career. He was good going into the break, too.
One-week bust: Shields. He struggled mightily in the first half and is 2-7 with a 5.54 ERA in his career against the Yankees. Now is not the time to expect Shields' season to turn around. It should in the second half, but keep him reserved this week.

Texas Rangers

  1. Tommy Hunter at BOS Wakefield
  2. Colby Lewis at BOS Doubront
  3. Cliff Lee at BOS Lackey
  4. C.J. Wilson at BOS Lester
  5. Scott Feldman won't start

One-week sleeper: Hunter. You might be scared because of the aura of facing the Red Sox, but that is a DL-hit offense that struggled going into the break. The Red Sox are vulnerable right now, so take advantage of the Rangers' staff in mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Feldman. We might have liked him as a sleeper if he was facing the Red Sox right now. He is sitting until Fantasy Week 16 (July 19-25), though.

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Ricky Romero at BAL Bergesen
  2. Brandon Morrow at BAL Guthrie
  3. Shaun Marcum (elbow) at BAL Matusz
  4. Brett Cecil won't start
  5. Jesse Litsch and Marc Rzepczynski won't start

One-week sleeper: Morrow. He struggled going into the break, but the Orioles should make him useful as a stopgap in mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Marcum. He is tentatively slated to start Sunday, but those plans tend to be scrapped when you are the team's ace dealing with a sore elbow coming off elbow surgery and not having gotten a rehab outing to test it out. Marcum is too risky, despite him being listed as the probable pitcher. It will be too tempting to turn to one of Cecil, Litsch or Rzepczynski, who are all rested and ready to go.

Washington Nationals

  1. Stephen Strasburg at FLA Nolasco
  2. Livan Hernandez at FLA Johnson
  3. Craig Stammen at FLA Sanchez
  4. J.D. Martin won't start
  5. Luis Atilano (minors) won't start

One-week sleeper: None. Strasburg is the only trustworthy Nationals starter, even if you have gotten a good run out of Livan. Strasburg is a must-start in all leagues and a good bet to be the highest scoring starter in Fantasy this week. The Marlins are strikeout prone and free swingers, even if they can mash heat.
One-week bust: Anyone not named Strasburg. Until Jordan Zimmermann (elbow) is ready in August, coming off Tommy John surgery, we have planned to call everyone but Strasburg too risky to trust in Fantasy.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Pitching Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Rafael Furcal could move up to Double-A soon
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:01 pm ET) Marlins infielder Rafael Furcal continues to make progress in his recovery from a left hamstring strain, and should move up a level in his rehab assignment soon.

According to MLB.com, Furcal is expected to play Friday and Saturday for Class A Jupiter, before getting Sunday off. If he does not experience any setbacks in his recovery, he could move up to Double-A Jacksonville early next week. 


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(8:35 pm ET) Mets outfielder Juan Lagares will need one-to-two weeks to recover from a minor hamstring pull, the Star-Ledger reports.

"It's not that bad," Lagares said.

An MRI on the injured hamstring revealed that his injury is relatively minor, and Lagares is set to begin undergoing treatment. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday.


Scott Kazmir does flat-ground work Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:28 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir did his regular flat-ground work Wednesday and is ready to make his regularly scheduled start Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Kazmir left his previous start due to tightness in his triceps muscle, but the issue was minor and he'll remain on his regular pitching schedule. He's 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA through three starts.


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(8:23 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley is dealing with tendinitis in his elbow rather than any new ligament damage, MLB.com reports.

Billinsgley was shut down prematurely in Tuesday's bullpen session with discomfort in the elbow, but it appears he's avoided re-injuring himself in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The team will continue to move slowly with the pitcher.


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(8:06 pm ET) Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun will be sidelined four-to-six weeks due to a bad ligament sprain in his ankle, the Orange County Register reports.

Calhoun suffered the injury running the bases Tuesday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. He has hit .222/.276/.426 with two home runs, four RBI and two stolen bases in 54 at-bats.


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(8:03 pm ET) Royals pitcher Bruce Chen is dealing with a tight left glute muscle, the Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals shuffled the rotation around Wednesday in order to give Chen a few more days to recover, but despite being pushed from Thursday to Saturday, Chen isn't a lock to make his next start. He has been dealing with the tweaked glute for about a week but insisted he would have been able to pitch Thursday.

"The tightness was there," he said about his last start. "So the preparation in between starts wasn’t what we wanted it to be. So that’s why we decided to do a couple extra days."


Brandon Crawford sidelined by hamstring tightness Wednesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7:46 pm ET) Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, due to tightness in his right hamstring. He suffered the injury after attempting to bunt in the team's previous game, but does not consider it a serious issue.

Crawford told the San Francisco Chronicle he is available off the bench Wednesday and hopes to be back in the starting lineup in time for Thursday's series finale. 


Jose Valverde gets vote of confidence Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Mets manager Terry Collins said after Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks that Jose Valverde will continue to pitch in save situations moving forward, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

Valverde was used in a nonsave situation Wednesday and gave up two solo home runs before slamming the door on the Diamondbacks. He also surrendered a game-tying three-run home run in his previous appearance Saturday.


Carlos Quentin still not ready for rehab to begin
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7:21 pm ET) Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin continues to work his way back from a bone bruise on his knee, but his progress has apparently been slower than expected. MLB.com reports Wednesday Quentin is still likely at least a week away from beginning a minor-league rehab assignment, and there is "no chance" he will be ready by this weekend, as hoped. 

Anthony Recker hits second home run Wednesday
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(7:19 pm ET) Mets catcher Anthony Recker went 2 for 4 and hit his second home run in his team's 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks Wednesday.

Recker's solo homer in the second inning kicked off the scoring for the Mets, and the team would extend the lead to 5-0 before the opposition tacked on a couple meaningless runs on a par of ninth-inning home runs. Recker is 4 for 14 with two home runs, four RBI and one stolen base.


 
 
 
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