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Week 18 Fantasy Pitching Planner

Eric Mack
Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

We go around baseball's rotations every Sunday of the season in our weekly Pitching Planner. We highlight every matchup, recommended two-start options, sleepers and busts and much more. 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. Joe Saunders vs WAS Olsen, vs SD Latos
  2. Ian Kennedy vs WAS Stammen
  3. Barry Enright vs WAS Detwiler
  4. Daniel Hudson vs SD Garland
  5. Rodrigo Lopez vs WAS Hernandez, vs SD Richard

Two-starter(s): Lopez and Saunders. Lopez is a high-risk option, while the matchups make Saunders an advisable option in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Saunders. We generally didn't like what this trade did for his Fantasy value, but these matchups make him useful in mixed leagues this week.
One-week bust: Lopez. He isn't pitching well enough to be trustworthy in mixed leagues, even with those favorable matchups.

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Atlanta Braves

  1. Jair Jurrjens vs SF Lincecum
  2. Tommy Hanson vs SF Zito
  3. Tim Hudson vs NYM Santana, vs SF Cain
  4. Derek Lowe vs NYM Dickey, vs SF Sanchez
  5. Kris Medlen vs NYM Pelfrey

Two-starter(s): Hudson and Lowe. Hudson is a must-start, while Lowe is an advisable one with those matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Lowe. He is having a disappointing season, but he should be used in most formats with those matchups. He is active in only 53 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues. That should be closer to 75 percent.
One-week bust: None. All five starters are useful in mixed leagues this week.

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Kevin Millwood vs CHW Buehrle
  2. Jeremy Guthrie vs LAA Bell, vs CHW Garcia
  3. Brian Matusz vs LAA Santana
  4. Jake Arrieta vs LAA Haren
  5. Brad Bergesen vs CHW Floyd

Two-starter(s): Guthrie. He is a questionable option that might be worth using in deeper mixed leagues. He has been great since the All-Star break, posting 1.31 ERA in three starts.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Guthrie. He is facing a pair of contenders, so don't trust him in all leagues, but he has been great in those past three starts.
One-week bust: Matusz. A pitcher this talented shouldn't be struggling this badly. He also shouldn't be used in any leagues right now.

This week's two-start pitchers
Must-starts TM Own% Start%
Roy Halladay PHI 98 89
Tim Hudson ATL 95 85
Mat Latos SD 94 75
Colby Lewis TEX 90 73
Advisables TM Own% Start%
Johan Santana NYM 97 87
Yovani Gallardo MIL 97 83
Carl Pavano MIN 92 79
John Lackey BOS 94 73
A.J. Burnett NYY 93 70
Josh Beckett BOS 96 68
Trevor Cahill OAK 86 64
Jonathan Sanchez SF 89 62
Ted Lilly LA 85 62
Brett Myers HOU 82 61
Mark Buehrle CHW 81 60
Hiroki Kuroda LA 83 58
Derek Lowe ATL 79 54
Clayton Richard SD 73 52
Joe Saunders ARI 47 28
Randy Wells CHC 48 24
Jake Westbrook STL 29 15
Questionables TM Own% Start%
Brandon Morrow TOR 72 46
Travis Wood CIN 53 38
Livan Hernandez WAS 57 37
Fausto Carmona CLE 69 35
Jason Vargas SEA 59 35
Brian Duensing MIN 27 18
Rick Porcello DET 37 15
Aaron Cook COL 19 8
Jeremy Guthrie BAL 14 7
Jeremy Hellickson TB 33 6
Scott Olsen WAS 15 6
Brian Bannister KC 8 4
David Huff CLE 2 0
High-risks TM Own% Start%
Paul Maholm PIT 11 5
Rodrigo Lopez ARI 7 4
Ross Ohlendorf PIT 7 3
Sean West FLA 2 0
Trevor Bell ANA 0 0

Boston Red Sox

  1. John Lackey vs CLE Carmona, at NYY Sabathia
  2. Josh Beckett vs CLE TBD, at NYY Burnett
  3. Jon Lester vs CLE Masterson
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka vs CLE Tomlin
  5. Clay Buchholz at NYY Vazquez

Two-starter(s): Lackey and Beckett. They are advisable options in all leagues, despite that tough second matchup.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Dice-K. His favorable matchup should allow you to keep him active in all leagues.
One-week bust: Buchholz. If there was one starter we won't feel confident in this week, it will be Buchholz, because he starts at the Yankees in a one-start week. He is generally good enough to keep active, though.

Chicago Cubs

  1. Ryan Dempster vs MIL Parra
  2. Randy Wells vs MIL Gallardo, vs CIN Wood
  3. Tom Gorzelanny vs CIN Arroyo
  4. Carlos Silva vs CIN Volquez
  5. Thomas Diamond (5-4, 3.16 ERA in Triple-A) vs MIL Narveson

Two-starter(s): Wells. He is an advisable option in most leagues, posting a 1.83 ERA in five July starts.
Who is getting skipped: None. Carlos Zambrano remains relegated to the bullpen, despite the trade of Ted Lilly.
One-week sleeper: Wells. He is owned in just 47 percent of leagues and active in a mere 21 percent. His July suggests both figures should be higher in this two-start week, despite two potent opponents.
One-week bust: Silva. He had rebounded before leaving Sunday's start early with an illness. We wouldn't trust him in mixed leagues, especially not against the contending and potent Reds.

Chicago White Sox

  1. John Danks at BAL Bergesen
  2. Gavin Floyd at BAL Millwood
  3. Mark Buehrle at DET Porcello, at BAL Guthrie
  4. Edwin Jackson at DET Galarraga
  5. Freddy Garcia at DET Scherzer
  6. Carlos Torres (7-7, 3.71 ERA in Triple-A) at DET Bonderman

Two-starter(s): Buehrle. Despite a disappointing past start, he is too promising to sit with those matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None. But Torres will make a spot start in Tuesday's doubleheader and then head to the bullpen or back to Triple-A.
One-week sleeper: Torres and Garcia. We are so unimpressed with the Tigers' banged-up offense now, we figure you can take advantage by using these guys in their one-start weeks.
One-week bust: None. All six of the White Sox starters are viable options in most leagues against those two struggling teams.

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Bronson Arroyo at CHC Gorzelanny
  2. Edinson Volquez at CHC Silva
  3. Travis Wood at PIT Ohlendorf, at CHC Wells
  4. Mike Leake at PIT Maholm
  5. Johnny Cueto at PIT Karstens

Two-starter(s): Wood. He is a questionable option we consider a nice sleeper to use in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None. The Reds could consider skipping Wood off his second start, but it would move up another rookie -- Leake -- who they plan on limiting down the stretch, too.
One-week sleeper: Wood. That first matchup against the Pirates makes him useful in mixed formats as a two-start sleeper.
One-week bust: Volquez. He went five innings and 96 pitches Sunday, which could be his limits until he builds up strength coming off Tommy John surgery. Consider keeping him benched in a one-start week at the Cubs.

Cleveland Indians

  1. Fausto Carmona at BOS Lackey, vs MIN Pavano
  2. TBD (likely David Huff) at BOS Beckett, vs MIN Duensing
  3. Justin Masterson at BOS Lester
  4. Josh Tomlin at BOS Matsuzaka
  5. Jeanmar Gomez vs MIN Liriano

Two-starter(s): Carmona and Huff. They are questionable options best avoided in most leagues, if you can.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: None. We wouldn't trust any Indians starter in mixed formats this week.
One-week bust: Carmona. He was pitiful against the Yankees, which makes him difficult to trust against the contending Red Sox and Twins in his two-start week.

Colorado Rockies

  1. Ubaldo Jimenez vs SF Bumgarner
  2. Jeff Francis at PIT McCutchen
  3. Jason Hammel at PIT Duke
  4. Jorge De La Rosa at PIT Ohlendorf
  5. Aaron Cook vs SF Sanchez, at PIT Maholm

Two-starter(s): Cook. He is a questionable option in all formats, amid his recent struggles.
Who is getting skipped: None. Cook could be moved back to the bullpen with another bad outing. Jhoulys Chacin might not be long from a return to the rotation.
One-week sleeper: De La Rosa. He is resurgent with back-to-back quality starts. It sure helps he will be facing the Pirates, too.
One-week bust: Cook. He has been getting hammered and might be one more bad start away from a demotion to the bullpen, with Chacin coming in long relief to get stretched out to replace him going forward.

Detroit Tigers

  1. Justin Verlander vs LAA Weaver
  2. Rick Porcello vs CHW Buehrle, vs LAA Bell
  3. Jeremy Bonderman vs CHW Torres
  4. Armando Galarraga vs CHW Jackson
  5. Max Scherzer vs CHW Garcia
  6. TBD (perhaps Eddie Bonine) vs LAA TBD/Kazmir?

Two-starter(s): Porcello. He is a questionable option whose 3.38 ERA in his three starts since his return from the minors makes him useful in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None. The Tigers need a six-man rotation with the Tuesday doubleheader. We expect Bonderman to get one start and the No. 6 man, perhaps Bonine, to get a spot start. Whoever pitches better between the two will remain in the rotation for Fantasy Week 19 (Aug. 9-15).
One-week sleeper: Scherzer. He's pitching a lot better than his 56 active percentage suggests. You should be confident in this talent in mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Bonderman. He was rumored to be considering retirement amid his struggles and potential demotion to the bullpen. Don't use him if you can avoid it.

Florida Marlins

  1. Josh Johnson vs STL Wainwright
  2. Ricky Nolasco vs STL Suppan
  3. Anibal Sanchez vs PHI Kendrick
  4. Chris Volstad vs PHI Oswalt
  5. TBD (likely Sean West) vs PHI Halladay, vs STL Westbrook

Two-starter(s): West. He is a high-risk option, especially against those contenders and since he hasn't yet been officially announced as the likely replacement for the demoted Alex Sanabia.
Who is getting skipped: None. Sanabia was demoted to the minors and doesn't figure to return as a starter.
One-week sleeper: Sanchez. He faces the Phillies, but he at least gets a back-end starter opposing him.
One-week bust: West. We like his potential to help in deeper leagues in the season's final two months, but this is not a week to throw him into the Fantasy fire with those matchups.

Houston Astros

  1. Brett Myers at STL Westbrook, at MIL Gallardo
  2. Wandy Rodriguez at MIL Bush
  3. Bud Norris at STL Garcia
  4. J.A. Happ at STL Carpenter
  5. Wesley Wright at MIL Wolf

Two-starter(s): Myers. He is an advisable option in deeper leagues, but those are a pair of tough matchups. He has just been so dominant of late.
Who is getting skipped: None. Wright could be skipped next Saturday after Thursday's off day, but there is no word of that at this point. He was great in his start Sunday.
One-week sleeper: Rodriguez. He has tossed back-to-back scoreless outings that makes him intriguing in mixed leagues again.
One-week bust: Norris, Happ and Wright. They are coming off great starts, but their matchup is unfavorable to the point they shouldn't be trusted in mixed leagues this week.

Kansas City Royals

  1. Zack Greinke at SEA French
  2. Bruce Chen at SEA TBD
  3. Brian Bannister at OAK Cahill, at SEA Vargas
  4. Kyle Davies at OAK Mazzaro
  5. Sean O'Sullivan at OAK Anderson

Two-starter(s): Bannister. He is a questionable option best left for deeper AL-only leagues, even with those favorable matchups. He just isn't pitching well enough to consider in mixed formats.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: O'Sullivan. He draws the A's and has been pitching better than the other Royals starters not named Greinke.
One-week bust: Bannister. Those matchups and two starts are very tempting in deeper leagues. Bannister looks more like a two-start loser to us, though.

Top 10 Pitchers Added
Player % Change
1. Brian Duensing, RP, Twins 17
2. Joel Hanrahan, RP, Pirates 15
3. Drew Storen, RP, Nationals 14
4. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 14
5. Michael Wuertz, RP, Athletics 12
6. Brett Myers, SP, Astros 9
7. Josh Tomlin, SP, Indians 7
8. John Axford, RP, Brewers 6
9. Travis Wood, SP, Reds 6
10. Joe Saunders, SP, Diamondbacks 6

Los Angeles Angels

  1. Jered Weaver at DET Verlander
  2. Dan Haren at BAL Arrieta
  3. Ervin Santana at BAL Matsuz
  4. Trevor Bell at BAL Guthrie, at DET Porcello
  5. Scott Kazmir (shoulder) at DET TBD

Two-starter(s): Bell. He is a high-risk option that might prove useful in deeper AL-only leagues with those favorable matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None. The Angels have been going with a four-man rotation, but Kazmir will be needed the next time a No. 5 starter is required Saturday, Aug. 7 at Detroit.
One-week sleeper: Kazmir. But you have to be a real risk-taker in deeper leagues to consider him off the DL, even if the Tigers are struggling.
One-week bust: Bell. He isn't stretched out enough to be considered a real option for Fantasy owners yet. With Joel Pineiro (oblique) out for a while, though, Bell could be a nice flier in AL-only for the stretch run.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Clayton Kershaw vs WAS Lannan
  2. Chad Billingsley vs SD Correia
  3. Hiroki Kuroda vs SD Richard, vs WAS Hernandez
  4. Ted Lilly vs SD Latos, vs WAS Olsen
  5. Vicente Padilla vs SD LeBlanc

Two-starter(s): Kuroda and Lilly. They are advisable options in all leagues, especially against those weak offensive clubs.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Kuroda. He was active in just 40 percent of leagues this week. He is much more mixed-league worthy than that, especially with those favorable two matchups.
One-week bust: None. All five Dodgers starters are advisable options in all leagues this week.

Milwaukee Brewers

  1. Yovani Gallardo at CHC Wells, vs HOU Myers
  2. Randy Wolf vs HOU Wright
  3. Dave Bush vs HOU Rodriguez
  4. Chris Narveson at CHC Diamond
  5. Manny Parra at CHC Dempster

Two-starter(s): Gallardo. Despite his awful last outing, he remains an ace that should be active through thick and thin.
Who is getting skipped: None. Wolf left his Sunday start, taking a liner off his wrist. It is the reason we rule him a sit at this point. We cannot be certain he will make his start. Wolf could also be skipped after Thursday's off day, but so could the now-struggling Bush. Chris Capuano is a spot-starter candidate out of long relief.
One-week sleeper: None. Gallardo is the only Brewers starter we would trust and even he was hammered last time out.
One-week bust: Wolf, Bush, Narveson and Parra. It doesn't matter the matchups, these guys are just too up and down. Wolf could have been a sleeper, but he has that injury hanging over his head after leaving Sunday.

Minnesota Twins

  1. Kevin Slowey at TB Davis
  2. Francisco Liriano at CLE Gomez
  3. Carl Pavano at TB Hellickson, at CLE Carmona
  4. Brian Duensing at TB Niemann, at CLE TBD/Huff?
  5. Scott Baker at TB Price

Two-starter(s): Pavano and Duensing. They are questionable options with one tough matchup and a favorable one. We would consider them advisable in deeper leagues, though, with the way they are pitching.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Slowey. He has turned his season around and looks much more like the top 30 Fantasy starter we figured he was capable of being.
One-week bust: Baker. He is not pitching as well as the other Twins starters and draws the toughest matchup of them all.

New York Mets

  1. Johan Santana at ATL Hudson, at PHI Halladay
  2. R.A. Dickey at ATL Lowe
  3. Mike Pelfrey at ATL Medlen
  4. Jonathon Niese at PHI Hamels
  5. Hisanori Takahashi at PHI Blanton

Two-starter(s): Santana. He is an advisable option in most leagues, despite the tough matchups and that bad past start.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Takahashi. He is coming off a great start, which could save his rotation spot, but the Mets can skip him and go with a four-man rotation for a few turns due to off days Thursday and the following Monday. Dickey would pick up a second start in that event. Dickey has been hot and is a solid option even as a one-starter, despite the tough matchups.
One-week sleeper: Dickey. The knuckleballer (7-4, 2.32) has figured it out and looks like a solid option in mixed leagues now, regardless of the matchup(s).
One-week bust: Pelfrey, Niese and Takahashi. Pelfrey is a disaster right now, Niese is coming off a bad start and gets a tough matchup and Takahashi is a candidate to be skipped until the next time the Mets need a No. 5 starter Aug. 14.

New York Yankees

  1. CC Sabathia vs BOS Lackey
  2. Javier Vazquez vs BOS Buchholz
  3. A.J. Burnett vs TOR Morrow, vs BOS Beckett
  4. Phil Hughes vs TOR Marcum
  5. Dustin Moseley vs TOR Romero

Two-starter(s): Burnett. He is an advisable option in all leagues again, having turned his season around and winning three of his past four starts.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Moseley. His first start was surprisingly very good and he qualifies as a sleeper in mixed formats now. Andy Pettitte (groin) is doing well and targeting a mid-August return, but Moseley can be useful for a couple of turns.
One-week bust: Vazquez. He hasn't been great of late and you might have better options with a more favorable matchup than against the Red Sox.

Oakland Athletics

  1. Brett Anderson vs KC O'Sullivan
  2. Trevor Cahill vs KC Bannister, vs TEX Lewis
  3. Dallas Braden vs TEX Lee
  4. Gio Gonzalez vs TEX Harden
  5. Vin Mazzaro vs KC Davies

Two-starter(s): Cahill. He is an advisable option in all leagues regardless of the matchups. He has arrived as a Fantasy ace.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Anderson. He wasn't good in his return start, but he should be much better the second time around, especially with that favorable matchup. He should be active in far more than a mere 25 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues as he is right now.
One-week bust: Braden and Gonzalez. They are coming off great starts, but we wouldn't take the risk on them in mixed leagues against the potent Rangers this week.

Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Roy Halladay at FLA West, vs NYM Santana
  2. Roy Oswalt at FLA Volstad
  3. Cole Hamels vs NYM Niese
  4. Joe Blanton vs NYM Takahashi
  5. Kyle Kendrick at FLA Sanchez

Two-starter(s): Halladay. He is a must-start in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Kendrick. He is coming off a good start and draws a favorable matchup, one that makes him a sleeper in mixed formats.
One-week bust: None. All five Phillies starters are worth using in all leagues this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Zach Duke vs COL Hammel
  2. Ross Ohlendorf vs CIN Wood, vs COL De La Rosa
  3. Paul Maholm vs CIN Leake, vs COL Cook
  4. Jeff Karstens vs CIN Cueto
  5. Daniel McCutchen vs COL Francis

Two-starter(s): Ohlendorf and Maholm. They are high-risk options even in the deepest of NL-only leagues with those matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: None. All five of the Pirates starters are high-risk options against those offenses.
One-week bust: Ohlendorf. He might be the one that makes you consider taking a chance on him. Don't.

San Diego Padres

  1. Jon Garland at ARI Hudson
  2. Clayton Richard at LAD Kuroda, at ARI Lopez
  3. Mat Latos at LAD Lilly, at ARI Saunders
  4. Wade LeBlanc at LAD Padilla
  5. Kevin Correia at LAD Billingsley

Two-starter(s): Richard and Latos. Latos is a must-start in all leagues, while Richard is an advisable option in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Richard. He has kicked a slump with back-to-back quality starts, qualifying his 29 starting percentage in CBSSports.com last week too low.
One-week bust: LeBlanc. He has been pitching the worst of the Padres' surprising young starters of late.

San Francisco Giants

  1. Tim Lincecum at ATL Jurrjens
  2. Barry Zito at ATL Hanson
  3. Matt Cain at ATL Hudson
  4. Jonathan Sanchez at COL Cook, at ATL Lowe
  5. Madison Bumgarner at COL Jimenez

Two-starter(s): Sanchez. He is an advisable option in most leagues, despite struggling in his past start.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Bumgarner. Even when he is losing, he is still turning in quality starts. That is a tough matchup, but he has earned trust through thick and thin in mixed leagues right now.
One-week bust: None. All five of the Giants starters are useful options in most formats right now.

Seattle Mariners

  1. Felix Hernandez vs TEX Hunter
  2. Jason Vargas vs TEX Lewis, vs KC Bannister
  3. Doug Fister vs TEX Wilson
  4. Luke French vs KC Greinke
  5. TBD (likely David Pauley) vs KC Chen

Two-starter(s): Vargas. He is a questionable option best left for deeper AL-only leagues with that tough first matchup.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: None. We would consider French a sleeper in AL-only formats, but we cannot trust him to go deep enough in the game to qualify for a victory.
One-week bust: Vargas. He is 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA at home ... great ... but he got hammered by the Rangers in his one start this season (five runs in 5 1/3 innings).

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Chris Carpenter vs HOU Happ
  2. Adam Wainwright at FLA Johnson
  3. Jaime Garcia vs HOU Norris
  4. Jake Westbrook vs HOU Myers, at FLA West
  5. Jeff Suppan at FLA Nolasco

Two-starter(s): Westbrook. He is an advisable option in all leagues in his two-start Cardinals debut.
Who is getting skipped: Likely Suppan. He could easily be skipped after Thursday's off day, keeping Wainwright, Westbrook, Garcia and Carpenter on regular rest. In fact, Suppan might not make a start again, since Kyle Lohse (forearm) could be ready to return the next time the Cardinals need a No. 5 starter Aug. 10.
One-week sleeper: Westbrook. One of the biggest winners at the trade deadline is owned in just 28 percent of leagues, but the Cardinals make him a potential monster down the stretch even in mixed formats. Pick him up for this two-start debut.
One-week bust: Suppan. We figure the Cardinals will decide to skip him Friday, which would hand a second start to Wainwright. Wainwright is a must-start regardless.

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. Matt Garza at TOR Cecil
  2. James Shields at TOR Litsch
  3. Jeff Niemann vs MIN Duensing
  4. David Price vs MIN Baker
  5. Wade Davis vs MIN Slowey
  6. Jeremy Hellickson vs MIN Pavano, at TOR Morrow

Two-starter(s): Perhaps Hellickson. The Rays are calling up their top pitching prospect to give their other five starters some extra rest in the dogdays of summer. A good outing could keep the Rays in a six-man rotation for the next few weeks. Hellickson is a questionable two-start pitcher because it is uncertain if he sticks in the rotation.
Who is getting skipped: None. But everyone moves back a day to slot Hellickson as a No. 6 starter even though it isn't necessitated by a doubleheader or anything.
One-week sleeper: Hellickson. He is a future Fantasy ace who could be an impact pitcher in any format right away.
One-week bust: None. All six of the Rays starters are viable options in most leagues at this point.

Texas Rangers

  1. Cliff Lee at OAK Braden
  2. Colby Lewis at SEA Vargas, at OAK Cahill
  3. C.J. Wilson at SEA Fister
  4. Tommy Hunter at SEA Hernandez
  5. Rich Harden at OAK Gonzalez

Two-starter(s): Lewis. He is a must-start option in all leagues with those especially favorable matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None. Lee was going to reportedly stay on every fifth day, so Harden will move back a day, but he will get a start at Oakland still.
One-week sleeper: Harden. He was solid coming off the DL and gets a favorable matchup this week that makes him an option in all mixed leagues.
One-week bust: None. All five of the Rangers starters are solid options in mixed formats right now.

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Ricky Romero at NYY Moseley
  2. Brandon Morrow at NYY Burnett, vs TB Hellickson
  3. Shaun Marcum at NYY Hughes
  4. Brett Cecil vs TB Garza
  5. Jesse Litsch vs TB Shields

Two-starter(s): Morrow. He is questionable option, despite a two-start win streak, because of those tough matchups against potent contenders.
Who is getting skipped: None. The Blue Jays do have off days Thursday and the following Monday which could make Cecil, Litsch or Morrow risks to be skipped to save innings on their arms. Romero would pick up a second start if someone is skipped. He is a risky option, too, because of the matchups.
One-week sleeper: None. All five of the Blue Jays starters are unfavorable plays in Fantasy against the Yankees and Rays.
One-week bust: Morrow. It should be reminded his two-start win streak was against the Orioles in both starts. He isn't trustworthy enough to use against those elite teams this week.

Washington Nationals

  1. John Lannan at LAD Kershaw
  2. Livan Hernandez at ARI Lopez, at LAD Kuroda
  3. Scott Olsen at ARI Saunders, at LAD Lilly
  4. Craig Stammen at ARI Kennedy
  5. Ross Detwiler at ARI Enright

Two-starter(s): Hernandez and Olsen. They are questionable options, but they have pitched well enough to trust in NL-only leagues at least.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Olsen. He was surprisingly effective against a first-place club coming off the DL, so use him in deeper formats as a sleeper with two starts.
One-week bust: Lannan. He was solid in his return to the majors, but you should not trust him just yet in mixed leagues.

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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Koji Uehara available to close Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:43 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara is available to close Thursday against the White Sox, manager John Farrell told ESPN Boston.

Uehara was sidelined since April 9 due to shoulder stiffness. The right-hander has not surrendered a run over his first five innings pitched this season. He's struck out seven and issued no walks over that span.

Rafael Perez released by Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:32 pm ET) The Rangers released minor-league reliever Rafael Perez on Thursday, FOX Sports Southwest reports. Perez allowed three runs over 3 2/3 relief innings at Triple-A Round Rock.

Dustin Ackley registers fifth multi-hit game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:28 pm ET) Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley enjoyed his fifth multi-hit game of the season Thursday afternoon against the Rangers.

Ackley singled in the second inning and doubled in two runs in the third inning. He finished 2 for 4 with two RBI in an 8-6 defeat. He is hitting .294/.333/.471 with one home run and nine RBI in 51 at-bats.

Corey Hart reaches base four times in loss to Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:22 pm ET) Corey Hart played his first game in the outfield on Thursday for the Mariners, and snapped out of his recent funk with his fourth home run of the season in an 8-6 defeat to the Rangers.

Hart took starter Tanner Scheppers deep for a solo home run in the third inning. He added a double and finished 2 for 3 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. He is hitting .233/.313/.535 with four home runs and six RBI in 43 at-bats.

Robinson Cano finally puts one over the fences
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:18 pm ET) It may have taken him 56 at-bats, but Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano finally put one over the fences Thursday, launching his first home run of the season in an 8-6 defeat to the Rangers.

Cano took starter Tanner Scheppers deep for a three-run home run in the third inning, his first home run since Sept. 11, 2013 when he was a member of the Yankees. He finished 1 for 5 with a run scored and three RBI. He is hitting .271/.333/.356 with one home run and eight RBI in 59 at-bats.

Joe Beimel hit with first loss of season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:14 pm ET) Mariners relief pitcher Joe Beimel was charged with the loss Thursday afternoon against the Rangers, his first of the season.

Beimel (0-1) allowed a run to score on a ground out and another on a wild pitch in the fifth inning, which proved to be the difference in an 8-6 defeat. He was charged with two runs on one hit and one walk while striking out one in one inning of work. He owns a 2.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP along with 4:3 K:BB ratio over seven innings pitched.

Erasmo Ramirez lasts only two innings in no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Mariners starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez had an outing to forget, as he failed to make it out of the third inning but escaped with a no-decision Thursday afternoon against Texas.

Shin-Soo Choo launched a solo home run off Ramirez and the Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the start of the third inning. The right-hander was pulled after facing one batter in the third inning and inherited another run on a Mitch Moreland double off Dominic Leone. He was charged with five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two over two innings pitched in an 8-6 defeat.

Ramirez has allowed 13 runs over his last three starts (11 innings). His ERA has ballooned from 2.57 to 7.50 over that span. He'll look to regroup in time for his next start on Tuesday against Houston.

Tyler Lyons likely candidate to start Monday?
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:59 pm ET) In an MLB Network interview on Thursday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny indicated that he'll likely start a pitcher from Triple-A Memphis on Monday in place of Joe Kelly, who's nursing a hamstring injury, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Tyler Lyons will be the likely candidate to make that start on Monday. Lyons is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA and 18:5 K:BB ratio over his first three minor-league starts (19 innings).

 
 
 
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