Week 15 Pitching Planner

We go around baseball's pitching staffs and Fantasy's two-start pitcher options every Sunday of the season in the weekly Pitching Planner.

Staff reflections

Arizona Diamondbacks: Micah Owings was slated to be a two-start pitcher, but the team has moved ace Brandon Webb up to start Tuesday and Sunday before the break. ... Owings is also a candidate to be removed from the rotation in favor of Yusmeiro Petit this week, so avoid the struggling Owings in all leagues. That turn comes up Wednesday. ... Dan Haren , Doug Davis and Randy Johnson follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. Max Scherzer has not pitched in the minors since June 15. He is on the Triple-A DL with shoulder fatigue, making him unlikely to return to the majors before August, if at all in the second half. If you haven't already, jump off his bandwagon in non-keeper leagues and take a chance on some other prospect.

Atlanta Braves: Jorge Campillo is coming off a bad outing, but he is a nice two-start sleeper at the Dodgers and Padres. Those are two struggling offensive teams. ... Jair Jurrjens , Tim Hudson , Jo-Jo Reyes and Charlie Morton are each slated to start once in the six-game week.

Baltimore Orioles: Daniel Cabrera is the team's lone two-start pitcher, albeit a risky one at Toronto and Boston. ... Garrett Olson , Jeremy Guthrie , a TBD and Radhames Liz follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... The TBD is shaky No. 5 starter Brian Burres or a potential call-up. Randy Keisler is the only Norfolk Tides pitcher doing well right now, but the journeyman isn't worth a real look in Fantasy yet. ... Hayden Penn continues to struggle in Triple-A and doesn't figure to be a factor in 2009 at this point.

Boston Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka is a must-start, two-start pitcher. ... Jon Lester , Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield are sure to get a start before the break, but Justin Masterson could be skipped Friday after a Thursday off day to allow Jon Lester to pick up an extra start before the break. We haven't heard of this happening, but we figured you will want to know of that possibility.

Chicago Cubs: All-Star Ryan Dempster is a two-start pitcher worth using in all leagues, especially with two home starts vs. the lowly Reds and Giants. ... Carlos Zambrano , Ted Lilly , Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... Marshall has wrested the No. 5 starter's spot from Sean Gallagher , who will work long relief for the time being.

Chicago White Sox: Jose Contreras is a two-start pitcher with one great matchup at Kansas City and a scary one at Texas. ... Javier Vazquez , Mark Buehrle , Gavin Floyd and John Danks are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Top 10 Pitchers Added
Player Change
1. Grant Balfour , RP, TB 39
2. Hiroki Kuroda , SP, LAD 31
3. Ricky Nolasco , SP, FLA 28
4. Masa Kobayashi , RP, CLE 22
5. Kevin Slowey , SP, MIN 21
6. David Price , SP, TB 21
7. Mike Pelfrey , SP, NYM 21
8. Matt Garza , SP, TB 19
9. Damaso Marte , RP, PIT 18
10. Dan Wheeler , RP, TB 16

Cincinnati Reds: Aaron Harang is a two-start pitcher with a pair of tough matchups at Chicago and Milwaukee. Consider reserving him if you have an alternative on your bench outside of NL-only leagues. ... Johnny Cueto , Bronson Arroyo , Josh Fogg and Edinson Volquez are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Cleveland Indians: CC Sabathia is out of play for his two-start week, and journeyman Matt Ginter is the Triple-A starter who could pitch on his turns on regular rest, but it is more likely skipped No. 5 starter Jeremy Sowers slots in that spot and Ginter or another stopgap arrives Saturday, the next time the No. 5 starter's spot is needed. Consider Sowers and Ginter high-risk options for the deepest of AL-only leagues at this point. ... In the second half, Fausto Carmona (hip) will take that open rotation spot, but he likely won't be ready for Saturday. ... Paul Byrd , Aaron Laffey , Cliff Lee and the TBD follow Sowers as one-start options in the six-game week.

Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez and Mark Redman are slated to be two-start pitchers, but they have tough matchups at Milwaukee and the N.Y. Mets. Redman is nothing more than a high-risk option for the deepest of NL-only leagues anyway, while Jimenez is a sleeper in deeper formats. The tough matchups make Jimenez risky. ... A TBD follows Wednesday. It could be left-handed journeyman Glendon Rusch , but he or any potential replacement is nothing more than a high-risk option for the deepest of NL-only leagues. Ignore that turn, unless the Rockies decide to go back to prospect Jason Hirsh from back in Triple-A. Hirsh has long-term potential and was better in his last start. ... Jorge De La Rosa and ace Aaron Cook are certain one-start options in the seven-game week.

Detroit Tigers: A day off Mondy allows the Tigers to move up ace Justin Verlander for a two-start week heading into the All-Star break. Consider him a must-start option. ... Eddie Bonine , Kenny Rogers , Armando Galarraga and Nate Robertson follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... Dontrelle Willis was back to the mound in Class A last week, but he walked three without a strikeout in two innings. He clearly needs a month or so down there.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins' rotation is turning over a bit, but Ricky Nolasco and Andrew Miller figure to be two-start pitchers. They have nice matchups at San Diego and the L.A. Dodgers. ... Scott Olsen is sure to get one start before the break, while Josh Johnson (elbow) and Chris Volstad (up from Double-A) could be the Nos. 4 and 5 starters, putting Ryan Tucker on a bus back to the minors and opening-day starter Mark Hendrickson on the hot seat. ... Consider Tucker and Hendrickson too risky to use in Fantasy Week 15 (July 7-13), while Johnson and Volstad are sleepers in deeper leagues, especially NL-only formats. They are elite long-term pitching prospects. ... Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) started his rehab assignment from shoulder surgery and could return to the Marlins' rotation in August. Consider him a DL stashee in all leagues where you have ample DL or reserve spots at this point.

Houston Astros: Roy Oswalt (hip) is going to be held out of his start Tuesday and perhaps through the All-Star break, since a Thursday off day could allow the Astros to use a four-man rotation. We advise you sit Oswalt in all Head-to-Head leagues and only take the chance in deeper Rotisserie formats. ... Runelvys Hernandez is slated to be a two-start pitcher, a high-risk one, while Brandon Backe is a two-start sleeper at Pittsburgh and Washington due to the likelihood of a four-man rotation. ... Brian Moehler and Wandy Rodriguez each are slated to start once in the six-game week.

Kansas City Royals: Gil Meche and Kyle Davies are two-start pitchers better left for deeper leagues. ... Brian Bannister , Zack Greinke and Luke Hochevar follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders look like advisable two-start pitchers in all leagues. ... Jered Weaver , John Lackey and Jon Garland are one-start options in the seven-game week.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Billingsley are solid two-start pitchers, but they have tough matchups vs. the offensively potent Braves and Marlins. ... Derek Lowe , Chan Ho Park and Eric Stults are one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Clayton Kershaw figures to spend at least a month back in Double-A, while Brad Penny (shoulder) and/or Jason Schmidt (shoulder) won't return until after the All-Star break at the earliest. Reserve that trio in all formats this week. Kershaw is another top prospect bandwagon to jump off and further proof young pitching can be great, but more often than not, three years from now.

Milwaukee Brewers: Seth McClung is tentatively a two-start pitcher, but he stands to lose his second start to the addition of C.C. Sabathia, who is slated to start Tuesday and Sunday before the break. ... Manny Parra moves back a day and loses his own two-start week, and he will be followed by Ben Sheets , Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... McClung and Bush will pitch for the No. 5 starter's spot this week.

Minnesota Twins: Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn are two-start pitchers with real tough matchups at Boston and Detroit. Sit them outside of deeper AL-only formats. ... Livan Hernandez , Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins are slated to follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... Perkins, or perhaps Blackburn, is a candidate to be taken out of the rotation later this week for Francisco Liriano , who tossed six more shutout innings in Triple-A start Saturday. Liriano is not worth starting this week in Fantasy, because the Twins have starters pitching well and making the decision tough, but Liriano is worth owning at least for his potential to return and produce in the second half.

New York Mets: Pedro Martinez and Mike Pelfrey are two-start pitchers. We wouldn't dare use the awful Martinez at this point. Keep him reserved in all leagues. ... Pelfrey actually has been pitching well after his slow start and is worth using in deeper formats, especially with the matchups of San Francisco and Colorado at home. ... Johan Santana , John Maine and Oliver Perez follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

New York Yankees: Andy Pettitte is a must-start, two-start pitcher before the break. ... Sidney Ponson , Darrell Rasner , Mike Mussina and Joba Chamberlain follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Oakland Athletics: Dana Eveland and All-Star Justin Duchscherer are two-start pitchers with decent matchups against the offensively inept Mariners and first-place Angels. ... Joe Blanton , Greg Smith and Rich Harden follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Philadelphia Phillies: Adam Eaton and Cole Hamels are two-start pitchers with a pair of tough matchups. Hamels is a must-start regardless of his opponents. ... J.A. Happ , Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... Brett Myers doesn't figure to return for at least a few weeks and, while he says he is healthy, the results and velocity suggest otherwise. He needed a visit to the doctors, too. Keep him stashed in any league at this point, but we don't blame you if you merely cut him in mixed leagues.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Phil Dumatrait (shoulder) and Ian Snell (elbow) are coming off the 15-day DL early this week and are each slated to get a pair of starts before the break, albeit with relatively tough matchups at home. ... John Van Benschoten , Paul Maholm and Zach Duke follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... Barring a setback or return to the DL by Dumatrait or Snell, lefty Tom Gorzelanny will work back in the minors through the All-Star break. He can return later in the second half, but he clearly has things to work on amid his disappointing year.

San Diego Padres: Greg Maddux is a two-start pitcher pitcher better left for deeper leagues. ... Randy Wolf could also pick up a second start if the team chooses to skip No. 4 starter Josh Banks on Saturday after a Thursday off day. Keep Banks reserved in all leagues, while Wolf might be a risk worth taking in deeper formats. ... Cha Seung Baek and Jake Peavy are one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Chris Young (nose) is hoping to return after the All-Star break, but he hasn't begun a rehab assignment yet, so late July is the best-case scenario right now.

San Francisco Giants: Kevin Correia is a two-start pitcher with tough matchups, making him someone to avoid outside of the deepest of NL-only leagues. ... All-Star Tim Lincecum , Jonathan Sanchez , Barry Zito and Matt Cain are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Seattle Mariners: Jarrod Washburn and Carlos Silva are tentatively scheduled to be two-start pitchers, but the potential returns of Felix Hernandez (ankle) and/or Erik Bedard (back) over next weekend could bump them off a second start. ... The Mariners are expecting (hoping?) King Felix and Bedard will start once before the break, but they are risky options best left for AL-only leagues at this point. ... Miguel Batista is tentatively scheduled to start in Bedard's place Wednesday, followed by R.A. Dickey on Thursday. If Batista is not able to start Wednesday, Dickey would work on three day's rest and Hernandez would slot Thursday with Bedard possible for Friday. That scenario would allow both Washburn and Silva to keep their two-start weeks, but nothing is written in stone -- or even pen -- at this point.

St. Louis Cardinals: Joel Pineiro is a two-start pitcher with one tough matchup at Philly and a favorable one at Pittsburgh. Consider him in deeper formats. ... Mark Mulder is returning to the rotation Wednesday and is an option as a flier in deeper formats right now. His velocity is not there, but pitchability and a sturdy contender in St. Louis might help him make him a sleeper for your Fantasy team in the second half. ... Braden Looper , Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir are advisable two-start pitchers. All-Star Kazmir usually is a must-start, but he is facing the Yankees ace Andy Pettitte . ... Edwin Jackson , Andy Sonnanstine and James Shields are one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Texas Rangers: Luis Mendoza is moving up to Monday to start twice this week, while the Rangers are hoping Eric Hurley (hamstring) can return to the rotation Tuesday. He missed his start Saturday. ... Mendoza and Hurley are high-risk two-start pitchers, especially Hurley, who could be a no-start pitcher. ... Vicente Padilla , Scott Feldman and Kevin Millwood are likely one-start options in the seven-game week, but they have some tough matchups. We say avoid all Rangers starting pitchers this week.

Toronto Blue Jays: Dustin McGowan is the team's lone two-start pitcher. ... A.J. Burnett , Roy Halladay , Jesse Litsch and No. 5 starter John Parrish and likely to follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... Shaun Marcum (elbow) is targeting a second-half return, so keep him stashed in all deeper leagues, especially AL-only formats.

Washington Nationals: Odalis Perez is a two-start pitcher, a high-risk one as always. ... John Lannan , Jason Bergmann , Tim Redding and Collin Balester are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Fantasy Week 15 (July 7-13)

This week's potential two-start pitchers
Must-start options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Brandon Webb at WAS Perez at PHI Hamels
Cole Hamels vs STL Pineiro vs ARI Webb
Ervin Santana at TEX Mendoza at OAK Eveland
Chad Billingsley vs ATL Jurrjens vs FLA Miller
Daisuke Matsuzaka vs MIN Baker vs BAL Cabrera
Justin Duchscherer vs SEA Silva vs LAA Saunders
Joe Saunders at TEX Hurley at OAK Duchscherer
Justin Verlander vs CLE Sowers? vs MIN Blackburn
Advisable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Scott Kazmir at NYY Pettitte at CLE Sowers?
Andy Pettitte vs TB Kazmir at TOR McGowan
CC Sabathia vs. COL Redman vs CIN Harang
Ryan Dempster vs CIN Harang vs SF Correia
Matt Garza vs KC Meche at CLE Lee
Ricky Nolasco at SD Maddux at LAD Kuroda
Questionable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Aaron Harang at CHC Dempster at MIL Sabathia
Dustin McGowan vs BAL Cabrera vs NYY Pettitte
Dana Eveland vs SEA Washburn vs LAA Santana
Gil Meche at TB Garza vs SEA Washburn
Jose Contreras at KC Davies at TEX Hurley?
Pedro Martinez at PHI Eaton vs COL Jimenez
Hiroki Kuroda vs ATL Campillo vs FLA Nolasco
Scott Baker at BOS Matsuzaka at DET Robertson
Greg Maddux vs FLA Nolasco vs ATL Campillo
Daniel Cabrera at TOR McGowan at BOS Matsuzaka
Mike Pelfrey vs SF Correia vs COL Redman
Andrew Miller at SD Wolf at LAD Billingsley
Jorge Campillo at LAD Kuroda at SD Maddux
Nick Blackburn at BOS Lester at DET Verlander
Ubaldo Jimenez at MIL McClung at NYM Martinez
Joel Pineiro at PHI Hamels at PIT Snell
Adam Eaton vs NYM Martinez vs ARI Johnson
Brandon Backe at PIT Snell at WAS Perez
Kyle Davies vs CHW Contreras vs SEA Silva
Jarrod Washburn ? at OAK Eveland at KC Meche
High-risk options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Ian Snell vs HOU Backe vs STL Pineiro
Carlos Silva ? at OAK Duchscherer at KC Davies
Odalis Perez vs ARI Webb vs HOU Backe
Eric Hurley ? vs LAA Saunders vs CHW Contreras
Kevin Correia at NYM Pelfrey at CHC Dempster
Phil Dumatrait vs HOU Hernandez vs STL Wellemeyer
Runelvys Hernandez at PIT Dumatrait at WAS Balester
Luis Mendoza vs LAA Santana vs CHW Danks
Mark Redman at MIL Parra? at NYM Pelfrey
Jeremy Sowers at DET Verlander vs TB Kazmir

Pitch a question

Ryan H, Broomfield, Colo.: Is Brad Penny worth a flier once off the DL? He was dropped in my league. I know he is usually a second half slumper but with his terrible first half this season I wonder if we will see the reverse this season.

Emack: Penny still has a sore shoulder and is a late July returnee at this point. We very well could see him get hot after a month-plus of rest, but he needs to prove healthy first. Shoulders can be devastating injuries and Penny has a number of rivers to cross. He couldn't make it through his latest sim game without feeling pain in his sore shoulder. That's never a good sign.

Ryan Ptak, Manvel, Texas: I drafted the Big Unit and Pedro late in my draft hoping for lightning to strike. I am, however, begining to tire of their inability to pitch well. Is it time to cut bait and run or should I hold on to them? Possible replacements are Slowey, Baker, Bush, Meche and Cueto. I already Have Dice-K, Haren, Duchscherer, Nolasco, Billingsley and Saunders.

Emack: Martinez is the one to give up at this point, but his potential still outweighs those potential replacements. Slowey and Baker are interesting because they don't walk hitters and Cueto is interesting because he can strike out hitters, but neither team figures to give them the chance to be a big winner that the Unit's and Pedro's teams can make him if everything goes right in the second half.

You can e-mail Emack your Fantasy Baseball pitching questions to DMFantasyBaseball @cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Pitching Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org... Full Bio

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