Week 5 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: Dan Haren is a must-start, two-start pitcher in all leagues. ... Randy Johnson was better last time out and is a solid option in any format vs. the Astros. ... Edgar Gonzalez might get only two more starts before Doug Davis (thyroid cancer surgery) intends to return from the DL -- maybe, because ... Elite prospect Max Scherzer was called up to join the bullpen Sunday. Scherzer finally gave up runs in his last start, but he has 38 strikeouts in 23 Triple-A innings. He will work out of the bullpen for the time being and might be an option to close at some point -- or even start Tuesday for Gonzalez or for Micah Owings on Friday. ... Owings (ankle) left his start Saturday and is questionable for Friday. ... Scherzer is a must-have in all NL-only Rotisserie leagues and all long-term keeper formats. He can be expected to have a significant role with the top contending D-Backs soon even if he is worked in slowly in relief.

Atlanta Braves: They have just five games this week with days off Monday and Thursday -- and then another day off the following Monday. The Braves figure to go with a four-man rotation, but one important piece, John Smoltz (shoulder), might need to be held out next Saturday. ... Tom Glavine returns from the DL on Tuesday for a two-start week. ... Jair Jurrjens , Tim Hudson and perhaps Smoltz will get one start, while No. 5 starter Jeff Bennett figures to be skipped unless he is needed for Smoltz. ... Chuck James and Jo-Jo Reyes are both options in Triple-A when a No. 5 starter is next needed May 10, but Mike Hampton (pectoral) could also be ready from his rehab assignment by then.

Baltimore Orioles: A rainout, a doubleheader and Adam Loewen going on the DL has made a mismash of the O's rotation. The only certainties right now are Daniel Cabrera as a two-start pitcher option for deeper leagues and Jeremy Guthrie expected to remain on schedule Friday. ... Cabrera is off to a decent start after years of being a Fantasy bust. Consider him in deeper formats, because he could resort to his inconsistent self. ... Brian Burres was outstanding in the doubleheader and might be more likely to remain on schedule than Steve Trachsel , who struggled. ... Trachsel is a candidate to start Wednesday on short rest, because he didn't go long in his past outing. He threw 85 pitches in a terrible three-inning outing. ... The No. 5 starter with Loewen out is TBD and will be named Monday for Tuesday. Radhames Liz is the Triple-A starter who can pitch on turn and he is coming off an outstanding 10-strikeout outing. ... Garrett Olson might also an be option from the minors, but he hasn't started in a while, because of rainouts. ... Matt Albers and Jim Johnson are options for the O's out of the bullpen and might be more likely than a Triple-A call-up. Both pitched Saturday, although Johnson pitched much better. ... Johnson has a 0.00 ERA and has earned a nod, if he can be ready on two days rest after 2 1/3 innings. He would be a two-start pitcher in a seven-game week. Take the flier on Johnson in deeper AL-only Rotisserie leagues, especially since he will at least be useful in long relief. ... Hayden Penn is not yet a candidate, having struggled in his past outing in Triple-A. ... So to recap the mess: Guthrie, Cabrera, Burres and Trachsel are the top four starters, with the No. 5 spot to go to Johnson, Liz, Olson, Albers or Penn (in that order). ... And whoever is tabbed to start Tuesday will be a high-risk, two-start pitcher for the deepest of AL-only leagues. Manager Dave Trembley said a decision for Tuesday will not come until Monday, which might be past your roster deadline.

Boston Red Sox: They have reshuffled their rotation and decided Daisuke Matsuzaka (flu) won't return until Wednesday. ... Jon Lester gets the nod Tuesday for a two-start week and is an advisable option for deeper leagues. ... Tim Wakefield , Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett figure to follow in the rotation each with one start in a six-game week. ... Bartolo Colon (Triple-A DL) will get back on the hill later this week, but Justin Masterson has become the most likely rotation fill-in for the Red Sox. ... Masterson is back in Double-A, but he clearly is worth a flier in any format where you can afford to wait on a top prospect. He was dynamite in his debut, throwing "frisbee pitches" with great movement.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have skipped No. 5 starter Rich Hill to keep their top four on regular rest. ... Jason Marquis is the team's lone two-start pitcher, one best left for deeper formats. ... Ryan Dempster , Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly each get one start in a six-game week.

Chicago White Sox: Mark Buehrle texted his manager to request a start in Game 2 of a douebleheader Saturday, which kept spot start Nick Masset in relief. ... Masset likely gets the call to be the fill-in No. 6 starter Wednesday, which was necessitated by the Saturday doubleheader. ... Javier Vazquez is a must-start, two-start pitcher in all Fantasy leagues. ... Gavin Floyd , John Danks , Buehrle and Jose Contreras will each get one start in a six-game week.

Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo is a two-start pitcher option for deeper leagues. ... Johnny Cueto , Aaron Harang , Matt Belisle and Edinson Volquez follow each for a start in a six-game week. ... Belisle was better last time out getting a well-supported victory, but prospect Homer Bailey is hot in Triple-A and definitely someone to watch as a potential No. 5 option for Belisle.

Cleveland Indians: Jeremy Sowers was the man to get the call to replace Jake Westbrook as the No. 5 starter, but he was demoted after one start and now Aaron Laffey gets his chance because of a six-man rotation necessitated by a doubleheader. ... Laffey is a questionable two-start pitcher for deeper leagues, because anyone getting starts for the offensively potent Indians is intriguing in Fantasy. ... Roberto Hernandez is an advisable two-start pitcher in most formats. ... Cliff Lee , Paul Byrd and CC Sabathia each get one start in a seven-game week. ... Westbrook (ribcage) is out at least a month, so Laffey could pitch his way into a long look.

Colorado Rockies: Franklin Morales is a solid prospect and a sleeper two-start pitcher for deeper leagues. ... Aaron Cook could also pick up a second start if struggling No. 5 starter Mark Redman is skipped Friday after a Thursday day off. ... Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeff Francis are certain to be one-start options. ... Redman gave up 10 runs in the first inning Saturday and is a high-risk option for the deepest of NL-only leagues. ... Jason Hirsh (shoulder) won't be a candidate to return until June at this point, while Kip Wells is doing decent in long relief. ... Top prospect Greg Reynolds is struggling in Triple-A, along with veterans Josh Towers , Victor Zambrano , John Koronka and Valerio De Los Santos . ... Jose F. Capellan has been solid in three Triple-A starts and was called up to help in relief, cleaning up after Redman was out Saturday, so it is possible he or Wells replaces Redman in the rotation the next time Redman's turn comes up.

Detroit Tigers: Kenny Rogers is a two-start pitcher option best left for deeper leagues. ... Jeremy Bonderman , Nate Robertson , rookie Armando Galarraga and ace Justin Verlander follow as one-start options in a six-game week. ... Galarraga is pitching well enough to force Robertson to the bullpen if/when Dontrelle Willis (knee) can return from the DL in mid-May. Take a flier on Galarraga in deeper leagues, because the offensively potent Tigers figure to make a consistent winner out of all of their starters eventually this season. They have already shown signs of improvement.

Florida Marlins: Andrew Miller is a two-start pitching sleeper for deeper leagues. He is an elite talent who figures to improve his command every time out for a offensively potent team. ... Scott Olsen slides up a day ahead of struggling No. 5 starter Burke Badenhop , a sign the other former Tigers prospect might be on thin ice. ... Marlins top pitching prospect Chris Volstad continues to dominate in Double-A and is worth a flier in deeper leagues. Badenhop might just get that one last chance this week. ... Olsen, Badenhop, Mark Hendrickson and Ricky Nolasco are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Houston Astros: Struggling Chris Sampson is a high-risk two-start pitcher. ... No. 5 fill-in Jack Cassel will take at least one more turn. ... Streaking Shawn Chacon , ace Roy Oswalt and veteran Brandon Backe are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Kansas City Royals: Brett Tomko is a high-risk, two-start pitcher. ... Brian Bannister , Zack Greinke , Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jon Garland and Joe Saunders are two-start pitchers. ... John Lackey (triceps) will make two or three more rehab starts. ... Dustin Moseley will start Thursday vs. the A's at least and move to the bullpen once Lackey is ready. ... Moseley, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver are certain one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Esteban Loaiza is back in the rotation in favor of battered Hong-Chih Kuo . ... If Loaiza doesn't cut it again, might we see elite 20-year-old pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw , or even reliever-turned-starter Jon Meloan ? Stay tuned in to this closely in all leagues. ... Derek Lowe (elbow) said he should be fine for his Tuesday start and a potential two-start week. Feel confident using him in most formats. ... Chad Billingsley , Hiroki Kuroda , Brad Penny and likely Loaiza follow as one-start options.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ben Sheets (oblique) is expected to return Tuesday in time for a two-start week. Take the chance on him in most leagues. He just has been so dominant and his week off was as much of a function of the Brewers cautiousness as anything. ... Dave Bush has been sent to the minors. ... Jeff Suppan , Yovani Gallardo , Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra are one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Parra stays in the rotation for now with Bush out of the picture.

Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano is back in the minors and will need at least a few starts there before he is an option to return. ... Kevin Slowey (biceps) was great in his past rehab start and will make one more May 1 before returning as the No. 5 starter in Fantasy Week 6 (May 5-11). ... Nick Blackburn remains in the rotation now. He is more of an AL-only option, albeit a decent one as a rookie. ... With days off Monday, Thursday and then next Monday, the Twins will go with a four-man rotation. ... Boof Bonser is a two-start pitcher for deeper formats. ... Blackburn, Scott Baker and Livan Hernandez each are one-start options in a five-game week.

New York Mets: Johan Santana is a must-start, two-start pitcher, but weather reports for Monday are not good. Santana will at least get one start in the week and is a must-start in all formats, regardless. ... Oliver Perez , Mike Pelfrey , John Maine and Nelson Figueroa are one-start pitchers in a six-game week. ... Pedro Martinez (hamstring) and Orlando Hernandez (foot) are not close at this point, although Martinez figures to be closer to mid-May and Hernandez no better than early June. ... Figueroa and Pelfrey will be pitching for their rotation spots the next few turns.

New York Yankees: Mike Mussina and Phil Hughes are two-start pitchers. ... Andy Pettitte , Ian Kennedy and Chien-Ming Wang are one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Kei Igawa remains more likely to replace a struggling Kennedy than Joba Chamberlain anytime soon.

Oakland Athletics: Rich Harden (shoulder) is hoping to make the first of two rehab starts Thursday, which could make him a candidate to return late in Fantasy Week 6 (May 5-11). Keep him reserved in all leagues this week, though. ... Chad Gaudin and red-hot rookie Greg Smith are two-start pitcher options for deeper leagues. ... Dana Eveland , Justin Duchscherer and Joe Blanton are one-start pitchers in a seven-game week. ... Harden's return isn't likely to bump Smith at this point, so Eveland, Gaudin and Duchscherer might be pitching for their rotation spots.

Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels is a must-start, two-start pitcher in all leagues. ... Jamie Moyer , Adam Eaton , Kyle Kendrick and Brett Myers follow for one start apiece in the six-game week.

Pittsburgh Pirates: They have cut bait on bust veteran Matt Morris and called up former No. 1 pick John Van Benschoten , who will work in long relief for the time being. ... Phil Dumatrait assumes the No. 5 starter's spot, but he is a high-risk option for the deepest of NL-only leagues. ... Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny are two-start pitchers for deeper leagues. ... Zach Duke , Dumatrait and Paul Maholm each get one start apiece in the seven-game week.

San Diego Padres: Greg Maddux is a two-start pitcher option. ... Chris Young , Randy Wolf , Justin Germano and ace Jake Peavy are one-start options in the six-game week.

San Francisco Giants: Kevin Correia (oblique) was placed on the 15-day DL. The Giants have days off Thursday and the following Monday. They could go with a four-man rotation. ... Pat Misch is the likely No. 5 starter, but remember Misch won't be needed this week because of the off days. ... Noah Lowry (elbow) is not ready at this point and is out at least two more weeks. ... Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are two-start pitchers. Cain is a two-starter regardless, while Lincecum gets the second start if the Giants use a four-man rotation. ... Red-hot Jonathan Sanchez looks like he is a full-timer in the Giants rotation even once everyone is healthy.

Seattle Mariners: Carlos Silva is a two-start pitcher. ... Jarrod Washburn , Miguel Batista , Erik Bedard and Felix Hernandez each get one start apiece in a six-game week.

St. Louis Cardinals: Red-hot Todd Wellemeyer is a two-start pitcher and won't be losing his rotation spot at this point. ... Mark Mulder (shoulder) was less than impressive in his Double-A start and now figures to need at least a couple more rehab outings before he is a candidate to return. ... Joel Pineiro , Braden Looper , Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse each make a start apiece in the six-game week.

Tampa Bay Rays: Scott Kazmir (elbow) is slated to make his final rehab start Monday and is expected to return over the weekend in Boston. Consider him in AL-only formats, but let him sit in smaller formats for that tough matchup (although Kazmir has a nice bit of history against the Red Sox). ... A six-game week and the return of Kazmir means the Rays will go with a six-man rotation and have no two-start pitcher. ... James Shields is the only Ray certain to have a rotation spot after his next turn. ... Jason Hammel , Andy Sonnanstine , Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson start in succession Tuesday through Friday and will be pitching for their rotation spot. Hammel and Jackson don't have options and would have to move to the bullpen, while Sonnanstine and Garza could be sent to Triple-A if they struggle in their next start. Stay tuned into this closely if you own one of those arms.

Texas Rangers: Jason Jennings is a two-start pitcher best left for deeper leagues. ... Kevin Millwood , Sidney Ponson and Vicente Padilla follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... The No. 5 spot is next needed Saturday and it is a TBD at this point. Reports said A.J. Murray could get the call from the minors, but that rotation spot is a high-risk option for the deepest of AL-only leagues at this point and is best off avoided altogether. ... Brandon McCarthy (elbow, out until at least June), Kason Gabbard (back, out until at least mid-May), Luis Mendoza (shoulder, out until at least mid-May), Dustin Nippert (foot, out until at least mid-May), John Rheinecker (arm, out until at least late July) and Thomas Diamond (elbow, out until at least late July) are nowhere near ready to return at this point. Yeah, the Rangers will never have healthy pitching.

Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay is a must-start, two-start pitcher for all leagues. ... Dustin McGowan , A.J. Burnett , Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch follow with one start apiece in a six-game week.

Washington Nationals: Tim Redding is a high-risk, two-start pitcher. ... Shawn Hill , Odalis Perez , Matt Chico and rookie John Lannan follow with one start apiece in the six-game week.

Fantasy Week 5 (April 28-May 4)

This week's two-start pitchers
Must-start options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Johan Santana vs PIT Snell at ARI Haren
Dan Haren vs HOU Sampson vs NYM Santana
Roy Halladay at BOS Lester vs CHW Contreras
Cole Hamels vs SD Maddux vs SF Lincecum
Ben Sheets at CHC Marquis at HOU Sampson
Roberto Hernandez vs SEA Silva vs KC Tomko
Advisable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Phil Hughes vs DET Rogers vs SEA Silva
Tim Lincecum ? vs COL Cook at PHI? Hamels
Ian Snell at NYM Santana at WAS Lannan
Matt Cain vs COL Morales at PHI Myers
Derek Lowe at FLA Miller at COL Morales
Jon Garland vs OAK Gaudin vs BAL Cabrera
Jon Lester vs TOR Halladay vs TB Kazmir?
Questionable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Greg Maddux at PHI Hamels at FLA Miller
Todd Wellemeyer vs CIN Arroyo vs CHC Marquis
Bronson Arroyo at STL Wellemeyer at ATL Glavine
Daniel Cabrera at CHW Vazquez at LAA Garland
Carlos Silva at CLE Carmona at NYY Hughes
Greg Smith vs LAA Saunders vs TEX Jennings
Boof Bonser vs CHW Floyd vs DET Rogers
Franklin Morales at SF Cain vs LAD Lowe
Andrew Miller vs LAD Lowe vs SD Maddux
Jason Marquis vs MIL Sheets at STL Wellemeyer
Tom Glavine at WAS Redding vs CIN Arroyo
Kenny Rogers at NYY Hughes at MIN Bonser
Aaron Laffey vs NYY Mussina vs KC Meche
Tom Gorzelanny at NYM Perez at WAS Redding
High-risk options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Chad Gaudin at LAA Garland vs TEX TBD
Tim Redding vs ATL Glavine vs PIT Gorzelanny
Brett Tomko at TEX Jennings at CLE Carmona
Chris Sampson at ARI Haren vs MIL Sheets
Jason Jennings vs KC Tomko at OAK Smith

Pitch a question

Jeff Taccarino, Ocean City, N.J.: In my 12-team, Head-to-Head league, I have Johan Santana , Dan Haren , Ben Sheets , Oliver Perez , Cliff Lee , and Mike Mussina . Do I go with Mussina for his two-start week? And do I put in Sheets for his two-start, or wait and see how he makes out?

Emack: Santana, Haren, Sheets, Lee and Perez are the five we would go with this week. We might consider Mussina for a two-start week, but since you have three potential studs with two starts, you don't have to take the risk with Mussina. You have plenty of starts to work with.

D. Wilson: With Erik Bedard coming off the DL on Saturday, I will have to drop one of my 25-year-old starters, Jon Lester or Ubaldo Jimenez in order to make room for him on the roster, but I don't know which one should go. The only other possibility would be to cut Khalil Greene ( Erick Aybar is my other shortstop). What should I do?

Emack: Drop Aybar and keep the potential sleeper starters and soon-to-rebound Greene.

John, Seattle: I can keep nine pitchers. Which ones should I hold on to, and who can I get the most value by upgrading in a trade? My current staff is Joe Blanton , Jeremy Guthrie , Bobby Jenks , Ian Kennedy , Ervin Santana , Tim Wakefield , John Lackey , Jeremy Accardo , Armando Galarraga , Luke Hochevar , Jeff Niemann , Dontrelle Willis and Kevin Slowey .

Emack: Niemann is an easy cut and we will assume Lackey, Willis and Slowey are stashed on the DL. That is four to get you to nine. Once Lackey returns, drop Accardo and trade someone like Blanton for a closer -- or drop Hochevar is he struggles in his next start and looks unworthy of remaining in the majors. When they are all healthy, we rank those pitchers: Lackey, Jenks, Blanton, Willis, Galarraga, Kennedy, Wakefield, Slowey, Santana, Guthrie, Accardo, Hochevar and Niemann.

You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball @cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Mock Draft in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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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