Week 8 Fantasy Hitting Planner

The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and lineup changes.

All statistics are up to date as of Friday, May 21.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: @COL3, @SF3
Heating Up: Adam LaRoche is beginning his usual second-half surge a couple months early this year, batting (9 for 21) with two homers and three doubles over his last six games. He's a bit streaky, but he's worth a flier if you're looking for cheap power. Justin Upton is finally living up to his five-category potential, batting .379 (11 for 29) with two homers and two steals over his last seven games. Keep him active.
Cooling Off: Chris Snyder is opening the door for Miguel Montero to regain the starting job when he returns from a knee injury, batting .159 (7 for 44) over his last 15 games. You can do better in most mixed leagues. Chris Young is back to not doing much at the plate, batting .167 (4 for 24) over his last eight games. The 26-year-old has shown some signs of turning the corner this season, but you might not want to start him right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Diamondbacks have restructured the middle of their lineup a bit, batting Stephen Drew third, Upton fourth, LaRoche fifth and Mark Reynolds sixth. Drew benefits the most from this change, getting the protection of Upton and an extra at-bat or two over the course of a week.

Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @FLA3, PIT3
Heating Up: Martin Prado has returned to hitting the way he was at the start of the season, batting .353 (18 for 51) over his last 11 games. His lack of home-run power makes him less than a must-start in mixed leagues, but he's worth using now. So is the ever-streaky Troy Glaus , who's batting .435 (10 for 23) with two homers over his last six games and .386 (27 for 70) with four homers in May. Clearly, his shoulder is fine. Nate McLouth isn't necessarily hot enough to win back your trust, but he bears watching, batting .375 (9 for 24) over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar , both recently back from injury, have yet to rediscover themselves at the plate, with Jones batting .174 (4 for 23) over his last seven games and Escobar batting .143 (3 for 21) over his last six.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face four left-handers this week, but with Matt Diaz sidelined by a thumb injury, their lineup is pretty much set.
Lineup Changes: After watching Jason Heyward hit third when Chipper Jones was sidelined by injury, the Braves decided they want him batting higher in the order. He has settled into the second spot, bumping Prado to leadoff. He'll get more at-bats there and should see better pitches to hit with Jones batting behind him. Keep him active in all formats.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: OAK3, @TOR3
Heating Up: Luke Scott had three hits again Thursday and is batting .488 (20 for 41) with six homers over his last 11 games. This is what happens when he get hot. He'll deliver half a season's worth of production in a span of three or four weeks, so if you hope to get anything from him this season, you should activate him now.
Cooling Off: Miguel Tejada roller coaster ride of a season is going downhill again. He's batting .179 (10 for 56) over his last 13 games, but if you rely on him at shortstop, you might have no choice but to stick with him. Matt Wieters is batting .167 (4 for 24) over his last seven games, but if you rely on him at catcher, you definitely have no choice but to stick with him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face three left-handers this week, but with Rhyne Hughes back in the minor leagues, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Garrett Atkins is back playing first on a near-everyday basis, but with a .094 (3 for 32) batting average over his last 11 games, he's still not hitting well enough to matter outside of AL-only leagues.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 8
Player Start %
1. Garrett Jones , OF, Pirates 68
2. Juan Pierre , OF, White Sox 50
3. Troy Glaus , 1B, Braves 50
4. David Ortiz , DH, Red Sox 50
5. Luke Scott , OF, Orioles 31
6. Carlos Quentin , OF, White Sox 49
7. Jose Bautista , OF, Blue Jays 67
8. Jose Guillen , OF, Royals 42
9. Scott Rolen , 3B, Reds 34
10. Yunel Escobar , SS, Braves 45
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: @TB3, KC4
Heating Up: David Ortiz , who hit .143 with one homer in April, looks reborn in May, batting .358 (19 for 53) with seven home runs. If he wasn't in a lefty-righty platoon, he'd be a must-start again. Kevin Youkilis is batting .474 (9 for 19) with three homers over his last five games, but he's an obvious must-start. So is Victor Martinez , who seems to be putting his early-season slump behind him, batting .438 (7 for 16) with two homers over his last four games.
Cooling Off: Dustin Pedroia , who has been a multi-hit machine for much of the season, is batting just .154 (4 for 26) over his last seven games. You obviously wouldn't bench him, though.
Injury Concerns: Jacoby Ellsbury , who hasn't played since April 11 because of fractured ribs, is finally ready to return Saturday. Assuming he looks healthy over the weekend, you'll want to activate him. His stolen-base potential makes him an elite option still. Mike Cameron , who looked on track to return even before Ellsbury, is still rehabbing his strained abdominal. If he remains a question mark going into next week, you shouldn't chance anything with a streaky player like him. Marco Scutaro missed Thursday's game with tennis elbow, but he could return Friday. As long as he returns sometime this weekend, you should continue to use him as you normally would.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, so Ortiz should return from this weekend's series at Philadelphia rested and ready to play a full seven games. Throw in his May power surge, and he's a great sleeper for this week. Unfortunately, Mike Lowell , who usually replaces him against lefties, isn't.
Lineup Changes: Darnell McDonald and the platoon of Jeremy Hermida and Bill Hall will go back to the bench once Ellsbury and Cameron return from their injuries, so you probably wouldn't want to use any of the three in AL-only leagues this week.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: LAD3, STL3
Heating Up: Starlin Castro is looking like a legitimate major-leaguer at the tender age of 20, batting .471 (8 for 17) over his last four games and .375 in 13 games total. The top prospect is worth a flier if you need help at the weak shortstop position.
Cooling Off: Geovany Soto continues to walk at a ridiculous rate, but he's batting only .103 (3 for 29) over his last 11 games. Still, he has redeemed himself from his poor 2009 and has proven to be a must-start in Fantasy again.
Injury Concerns: Aramis Ramirez missed Thursday's game with a sore thumb, but manager Lou Piniella doesn't think it's serious. What is serious is Ramirez's season-long slump, which has now lasted seven weeks. Even if he plays over the weekend, you wouldn't necessarily want to start him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face two left-handers this week, which means Kosuke Fukudome might sit twice for Xavier Nady . That's reason enough to avoid him in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @CLE3, @TB4
Heating Up: Juan Pierre continues to prove his slow April was a fluke, batting .368 (25 for 68) with nine steals over his last 16 games. If you own him, you want him starting. Carlos Quentin is trying to begin a turnaround of his own, batting .348 (8 for 23) over his last six games. Now might be the time to get him active again.
Cooling Off: Andruw Jones is starting to look old again, batting .161 (5 for 31) over his last eight games. It might be nothing, or it might be a regression to the mean. Either way, you should probably sit him for now. Gordon Beckham rough rookie season is only getting worse. He's batting .113 (6 for 53) so far in May and doesn't deserve to start in mixed leagues right now. Paul Konerko is coming back down to earth a bit, batting .130 (3 for 23) over his last six games. Still, you can't bench the league leader in homers.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face just one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The White Sox have moved Beckham down to ninth in the batting order, hoping to get him going. They haven't settled on a No. 2 hitter yet, but any player who moves there would only see a boost in Fantasy value since he'd be in line for more at-bats.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. Jose Bautista , OF, Blue Jays 37
2. Brennan Boesch , OF, Tigers 37
3. Francisco Cervelli , C, Yankees 25
4. Luke Scott , OF, Orioles 20
5. Troy Glaus , 1B, Braves 17
6. David Ortiz , DH, Red Sox 16
7. John Buck , C, Blue Jays 12
8. Jonny Gomes , OF, Reds 12
9. Angel Pagan , OF, Mets 10
10. Miguel Olivo , C, Rockies 9

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: PIT4, HOU3
Heating Up: Jonny Gomes , who has impressive power potential when hot, is batting .457 (21 for 46) with three home runs over his last 13 games, but his uncertain role makes him hard to recommend in NL-only leagues. Joey Votto is batting .352 (25 for 71) with six homers in May and is clearly a must-start.
Cooling Off: Drew Stubbs is batting just .182 (4 for 22) over his last six games and remains too inconsistent to use in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Scott Rolen missed Thursday's game with general soreness that manager Dustin Baker said has bothered him for a couple weeks. But considering he's batting .419 (13 for 31) with two homers over his last nine games, it doesn't seem like a long-term concern. As long as he returns over the weekend, you should continue to use him as you normally would.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face three left-handers this week, and you can bet Gomes will start those games. When Jayson Nix and Chris Heisey come into the picture is anybody's guess.
Lineup Changes: None.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: CHW3, @NYY3
Heating Up: Jhonny Peralta , whose batting average was in the .150 range for much of April, is batting .333 (14 for 42) with a homer during a 10-game hitting streak. If he still qualifies at shortstop in your league, he's worth a look.
Cooling Off: Russell Branyan power surge last week didn't lead to a hot streak after all. He's batting just .045 (1 for 22) since.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face three left-handed pitchers this week, but with Luis Valbuena reduced to a reserve role, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Mark Grudzielanek has effectively replaced the struggling Valbuena as the starting second baseman. He was already starting against left-handers, but now he gets most of the starts against righties as well. He's worth adding in deeper AL-only leagues. Jason Donald has taken over at shortstop with Asdrubal Cabrera (forearm) going on the DL, but he lacks the upside to make an impact in mixed leagues. Same goes for Trevor Crowe , who has taken over for Grady Sizemore (knee).

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: ARI3, LAD3
Heating Up: Todd Helton is finally starting to look like himself again, batting .429 (9 for 21) with a homer and 13 walks over his last eight games. He's worth a flier in leagues that reward walks.
Cooling Off: Clint Barmes is batting .091 (2 for 22) over his last six games and .207 overall. You have to think his starting job is in jeopardy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any clear-cut lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: In an effort to generate more offense, the Rockies have begun using Seth Smith more. Dexter Fowler is the one who suffers, starting just two of the team's last nine games. These two will likely steal at-bats from each other all season long, so even though both have potential -- Smith as an OPS specialist and Fowler as a power-speed guy -- neither deserves a roster spot in mixed leagues.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: @SEA2, OAK3
Heating Up: Magglio Ordonez has been in and out of the lineup with various aches and pains, but when he has been able to play, he has played well, batting .545 (12 for 22) with five walks over his last six games. He remains too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Austin Jackson high strikeout rate is coming back to haunt him. He's batting .184 (7 for 38) over his last 10 games and is showing why he never quite reached must-start status in Fantasy. Miguel Cabrera is batting .130 (3 for 23) over his last six games, but you'd never sit him.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Guillen , on the DL with a strained left hamstring, is set to begin a rehab assignment Saturday. With the announcement he'll take over as the starting second baseman upon his return, he has renewed mixed-league appeal, but even if he returns sometime this week, you wouldn't want him active right away.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Tigers demoted prospect Scott Sizemore to clear a starting spot for Guillen, but in the meantime, they've started Danny Worth at second base. He doesn't have enough upside to matter in Fantasy.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: ATL3, PHI3
Heating Up: Hard to find a Marlin who isn't. Dan Uggla might be the hottest player in baseball over his last seven games, batting .348 (8 for 23) with five home runs. Jorge Cantu has multiple hits in four of his last six games, batting .385 (10 for 26) during that stretch. Even Chris Coghlan is showing some signs of life after a dreadful start to the season, batting .296 (8 for 27) with two homers over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Gaby Sanchez is batting .083 (1 for 12) over his last four games, but even he was hot right before that. He still doesn't offer enough power potential at the deep first base position to make a major impact in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face one left-hander this week, but with John Baker on the DL with a sore right forearm, the team doesn't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Ronny Paulino has gotten most of the playing time with Baker on the DL and is worth a flier in deeper leagues. Brett Hayes has spelled him a few times, though.

Houston Astros
Schedule: @MIL3, @CIN3
Heating Up: Carlos Lee , who had been bad enough over the first six weeks to make some people think he was finished at age 33, has homered three times in his last five games. He's still batting under .200, so he hasn't regained must-start status yet, but you should at least think about activating him. Jeff Keppinger has multiple hits in five of his last eight games, batting .344 (11 for 32) during that stretch, but you wouldn't want to use him in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: After looking like he had finally turned the corner in his recovery from knee surgery, Lance Berkman is batting just .136 (3 for 22) over his last six games. His potential makes him awfully hard to sit, though. Pedro Feliz is getting awfully hard to start even for the offensively challenged Astros, batting .163 (7 for 43) over his last 14 games. Don't bother with him in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face two left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Astros waived Kazuo Matsui on Wednesday, creating an opportunity for Keppinger to play every day, not that he has the upside to matter in mixed leagues. Geoff Blum has begun stealing at-bats from the offensively challenged Tommy Manzella , but Blum isn't a great hitter himself. Leave him for deeper NL-only leagues.

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: TEX2, @BOS4
Heating Up: Not only is Mike Aviles healthy coming off Tommy John surgery, but he's also doing his best to prove his rookie 2008 season wasn't a fluke, batting .386 (17 for 44) over his last 10 games. As a player who qualifies at both shortstop and second base, he's worth adding in all leagues. Jose Guillen , who hit .107 (6 for 56) during a recent 16-game stretch, is back on the right side of streaky, batting .321 with a homer over his last seven games. When he gets hot, he can carry your team. Billy Butler is adding a little pop to his play, batting .429 (9 for 21) with a homer and four doubles over his last six games. Start him in all leagues.
Cooling Off: Scott Podsednik isn't necessarily too cold to start right now, but he's about the only Royal who isn't hot, batting .190 (4 for 21) over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: Rick Ankiel , on the DL with a strained quadriceps, could potentially return before the end of the week, but he has yet to begin a rehab assignment. He's streaky anyway, so you shouldn't bother with him even in AL-only leagues this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face one left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: TOR3, SEA3
Heating Up: Torii Hunter move back to the cleanup spot has paid off. He's batting .350 (7 for 20) with three homers over his last six games. Hunter is injury prone at age 34, but he's still too valuable to sit when healthy. Juan Rivera , who set career bests with 25 homers and 88 RBI last year, is showing his first signs of life this year, batting .368 (7 for 19) with two home runs over his last six games. When he gets hot, he's worth using in all leagues.
Cooling Off: Hideki Matsui miserable May isn't getting any better. He's batting .147 (11 for 75) over his last 23 games and is doing too much harm to start in mixed leagues right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: @CHC3, @COL3
Heating Up: Russell Martin improved his hitting streak to 15 games Thursday. He's batting .305 (18 for 59) with two homers during that stretch, proving he's still a must-start in Fantasy. Casey Blake , another one of those notoriously streaky players, is batting .471 (8 for 17) with two homers over his last four games. If you need a corner infielder, you might want to roll the dice on him.
Cooling Off: James Loney is batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games, which isn't reason enough to bench him. Still, when he's not hitting for average, he's not much use to you in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Rafael Furcal has fooled us before, but once again, he appears on track to return from a hamstring injury Friday. He had emerged as a leading threat for stolen bases before the injury, so as long as he looks healthy this weekend, you'll want to get him active. Manny Ramirez situation is a little dicier. He missed his second straight game Thursday with a toe injury, and though manager Joe Torre says he'll likely need only one more day off, you never know with the 37-year-old. As long as he plays this weekend, you're fine to start him, but he'll be a headache to own all season.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face four lefties this week, making Xavier Paul not such a good sleeper in NL-only leagues. He has taken over in right field with Andre Ethier (broken pinkie) on the DL, but he'll likely sit for Reed Johnson against lefties.
Lineup Changes: Other than the loss of Ethier, which is obviously huge in Fantasy, not much has changed for the Dodgers. Jamey Carroll would go back to the bench if Furcal comes off the DL, but he doesn't have much Fantasy appeal even when starting.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: HOU3, NYM3
Heating Up: Casey McGehee is only further establishing himself as one of the top middle-infield eligible players in Fantasy, batting .413 (19 for 46) with four homers and 14 RBI over his last 12 games. Start him in all leagues. Corey Hart still has some discouraging peripherals, but he has regained some mixed-league appeal over his last six games, batting .364 (8 for 22) with four home runs. Alcides Escobar , recently moved up to the second spot in the batting order, has shown he might have something to offer there, batting .324 (11 for 34) over his last nine games. Keep an eye on him.
Cooling Off: Rickie Weeks has managed to stay healthy this year, but his free-swinging ways have caught up to him again. He's batting .119 (5 for 42) over his last 10 games and isn't beyond benching in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Gomez , on the DL with shoulder and knee injuries, could return as soon as Friday, but he'll likely play a semi-regular role when he does. His ability to steal bases gives him some low-end appeal in deeper Rotisserie leagues, but he's too inconsistent for standard formats. Gregg Zaun suffered a strained right shoulder Thursday and will likely go on the DL. If the Brewers call up top catching prospect Jonathan Lucroy as expected, you'll want to take a flier on him in NL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week, which means Gomez is assured only one start. He'll no doubt replace Jody Gerut some against righties as well, though.
Lineup Changes: With Jim Edmonds going on the DL with a strained oblique, Gerut has taken over as a regular in the outfield. The expected return of Gomez keeps him just a low-end NL-only option, however.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: NYY3, TEX3
Heating Up: Justin Morneau , an early frontrunner for AL MVP, has only improved his stock of late, batting .438 (14 for 32) with five homers over his last nine games. Start him.
Cooling Off: Michael Cuddyer is batting .173 (9 for 52) over his last 14 games, but he has shown some signs of breaking out recently. Still, you wouldn't be crazy to sit him for now. Delmon Young is doing his best to lose what little grip he has on a starting job, batting .056 (1 for 18) over his last seven games. Don't bother with him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: J.J. Hardy , who is on the DL with a wrist contusion, could return sometime this week, but since you won't get to see him in action this weekend, you wouldn't want to chance starting him. He's not a must-start even when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face three left-handed pitchers this week. You can expect Jim Thome to sit out those games, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll replace Young against the righties.
Lineup Changes: The return of Hardy would force Brendan Harris back to the bench, but he hardly matters even in AL-only leagues.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: PHI3, @MIL3
Heating Up: Rod Barajas , who is a career .240 hitter, is looking nothing like one right now, batting .368 (14 for 38) with three homers over his last 11 games. At the weak catcher position, he's obviously worth starting right now. Jason Bay is beginning to turn his season around, batting .386 (17 for 44) over his last 12 games, but he doesn't have a single homer during that stretch. Still, his potential is too great for you to sit him.
Cooling Off: David Wright , who got a day off Wednesday because of his struggles, is batting just .138 (4 for 29) over his last eight games. Still, he already has eight homers this year after slumping to 10 last year, so he's too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face four left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-right platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Mets have moved Jose Reyes back to the leadoff spot, where he should get more at-bats and have an easier time stealing bases. They also reshuffled the middle of the order, batting Bay third, Ike Davis fourth and Wright fifth. Of these four players, only Davis isn't a must-start in Fantasy, but the rookie has impressed enough to deserve a roster spot in mixed leagues.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: @MIN3, CLE3
Heating Up: Slowly but surely, Alex Rodriguez is righting the wrongs of his poor April, batting .352 (19 for 54) with four homers over his last 14 games.
Cooling Off: Randy Winn isn't making the most of regular playing time, batting just .111 (3 for 27) over his last nine games. Leave him for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: Nick Swisher returned to the lineup Thursday after missing four straight starts with a sore left biceps. The injury still affects him swinging left-handed, though, so he's not necessarily in the clear. Unless he plays every game this weekend, you wouldn't want to start him. Marcus Thames missed Thursday's game with a minor ankle injury, but he's just a platoon player.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two lefties this week, which means Juan Miranda will likely sit twice for Thames. Neither player matters in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: With Nick Johnson (wrist) on the DL, Miranda has seemingly become the better half of a lefty-righty platoon with Thames, starting three straight games. The on-again, off-again status of Swishers' biceps might have a say in that, but for now, Miranda looks like he deserves a shot in AL-only leagues. With Jorge Posada out 3-4 weeks with a broken bone in his right foot, Francisco Cervelli takes over as the starting catcher. He has limited power, but his high contact rate at the weak catcher position makes him worth a flier even in deeper mixed leagues.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: @BAL3, @DET3
Heating Up: Daric Barton , who hit a little rough patch in the middle of May, seems to be pulling out of it, batting .400 (6 for 15) with two doubles and a triple over his last four games. With good matchups this week, he might be worth activating in deeper leagues.
Cooling Off: Cliff Pennington can't get anything to land in May, batting .169 (10 for 59) over his last 15 games. He has an intriguing skill set at a weak position, but you wouldn't want to use him now.
Injury Concerns: Mark Ellis , on the DL with a hamstring injury, has already begun a rehab assignment and could return as soon as Saturday. His moderate pop isn't enough to give him significant mixed-league appeal, though. Coco Crisp , himself rehabbing from a fractured pinkie, could also return soon, but he hasn't made a significant impact in mixed leagues since his days with the Indians.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face two left-handers this week, so you have to figure Eric Chavez will sit twice for Jake Fox . Both remain strictly AL-only options.
Lineup Changes: Jack Cust , back up from the minor leagues, has taken the starting left field job away from Eric Patterson . His pop makes him worth adding in AL-only leagues, but he's not worth using in mixed leagues until he puts together a hot streak.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Reds PIT4, HOU3
2. Pirates @CIN4, @ATL3
3. Athletics @BAL3, @DET3
4. Blue Jays @LAA3, BAL3
5. Braves @FLA3, PIT3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: @NYM3, @FLA3
Heating Up: Shane Victorino has continued to thrive out of the leadoff spot, batting .333 (13 for 39) with a homer, a double, three triples and three steals over his last nine games. Ryan Howard is making up for his early shortage of power by batting .400 (14 for 35) over his last eight games. Both are obvious must-starts.
Cooling Off: Jayson Werth , who has been batting well over .300 much of the season, is experiencing something of a course correction, batting .231 (9 for 39) over his last 11 games. He's still a must-start, though.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Rollins returned from his strained calf as expected, but instead of resuming his leadoff duties, the Phillies stuck him in the sixth spot. He obviously won't score as many runs batting down there, but he'll no doubt drive in more runs. Victorino gets to keep hitting leadoff, benefiting from the lineup protection he didn't have earlier in the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: @CIN4, @ATL3
Heating Up: Garrett Jones , who has maintained an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio this season even if he hasn't done much with the bat, is beginning to string together multi-hit games, batting .433 (13 for 30) over his last eight. With nothing but right-handed pitchers on the schedule, he could be in line for a big week.
Cooling Off: After heating up near the end of April, Andy LaRoche has gone in the tank, batting .156 (7 for 45) over his last 12 games. Even when hot, he lacks the power to make a significant impact in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Akinori Iwamura missed his fifth straight start with a tight right hamstring Thursday, but considering he's batting only .156 on the year, you wouldn't want to start him even if he returns over the weekend.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which is obviously good news for a righty masher like Jones. It's also good news for Jeff Clement , who typically sits for Steve Pearce against lefties.
Lineup Changes: Delwyn Young and Bobby Crosby have been platooning at second base because of Iwamura's injury, but with both expected to return to the bench in the coming days, neither is worth your time in NL-only leagues.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: STL3, WAS3
Heating Up: Will Venable nearly hit for the cycle Wednesday and is batting .471 (8 for 17) with three stolen bases over his last seven games. The power-speed threat is too inconsistent for mixed-league use, but you'll want to give him a look in NL-only leagues again. David Eckstein is batting .378 (17 for 45) over his last 12 games, but his complete lack of power or speed makes him just an NL-only option.
Cooling Off: Everth Cabrera is batting just .190 (4 for 21) in five games since returning from a hamstring injury. Despite his stolen-base potential, he's not worth using in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face two lefties this week, but with Kyle Blanks (elbow) and Scott Hairston (hamstring) going on the DL, Venable, who is now batting leadoff, has no choice but to play every day. Tony Gwynn will likely sit twice for Oscar Salazar , though.
Lineup Changes: With the injuries to Blanks and Hairston, Chris Denorfia has gone from being a minor-league journeyman to an everyday player for a contending team. He has modest power and speed, making him worth a flier in NL-only leagues, but he won't matter in mixed formats.

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: WAS3, ARI3
Heating Up: Juan Uribe is batting .364 (8 for 22) with two homers over his last six games, but his stay in the starting lineup is likely a short one. Better not start him this week.
Cooling Off: Bengie Molina is still batting over .300 for the season, but he's enduring his first rough stretch, batting .174 (4 for 23) over his last seven games. Still, you wouldn't bench him at the weak catcher position.
Injury Concerns: Edgar Renteria , on the DL with a groin injury, will likely return Saturday, but at age 33, he doesn't have much left to offer in mixed leagues. Mark DeRosa , himself dealing with a wrist injury, could return as soon as Monday, but he hasn't begun a minor-league rehab assignment yet. Nate Schierholtz missed Thursday's game because of a bruised right shoulder, but it likely isn't more than a day-to-day injury. His lack of pop makes him just an NL-only option when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face one left-hander this week, so now wouldn't be the time to use Andres Torres in an NL-only league. He typically replaces Schierholtz against lefties.
Lineup Changes: A return for DeRosa would likely send John Bowker to the bench, and a return for Renteria would finally spell the end of regular playing time for Uribe, who began the season at second base with Freddy Sanchez on the DL before moving over to shortstop with Renteria out. If you own Uribe in a deeper league, Sanchez, who just came off the DL this past week, would be a decent replacement. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but he makes consistent contact and has gap power.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Indians CHW3, @NYY3
2. Mariners DET2, @LAA3
3. Angels TOR3, SEA3
4. Cubs LAD3, STL3
5. Twins NYY3, TEX3

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: DET2, @LAA3
Heating Up: Ichiro Suzuki is batting .449 (22 for 49) with five stolen bases over his last 12 games, looking like the perennial batting title contender he is. Keep him active, obviously.
Cooling Off: Franklin Gutierrez is a great mixed-league option when streaking, but now isn't one of those times. He's batting .143 (6 for 42) over his last 12 games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face two left-handers this week, but with Mike Sweeney taking over the DH spot more or less every day, the team doesn't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Milton Bradley , on the restricted list while seeking help for his short temper, returned to the lineup Wednesday, forcing prospect Michael Saunders to the bench. He bears watching because of his potential, but he'll need to get hot before you consider adding him in mixed leagues. Josh Bard has taken over starting catcher duties with Rob Johnson struggling and Adam Moore on the DL with a knee injury. He's worth adding in deeper AL-only leagues because he'll get regular playing time, but he doesn't have significant upside. Ken Griffey hasn't gotten to start much recently, making him nothing more than a last resort in AL-only leagues.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: @SD3, @CHC3
Heating Up: Skip Schumaker has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, batting .281 (9 for 32) during that stretch. It's nothing impressive in Fantasy, but it might be enough to save his job, which matters in NL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Yadier Molina is batting .135 (5 for 37) over his last 11 games, so anyone who was riding his hot streak earlier in the month can cut him loose again. Colby Rasmus is batting just .213 (13 for 61) over his last 19 games, making him less than a must-start in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face two lefties this week, which means Rasmus could sit twice for any one of the team's reserve outfielders. He's becoming hard to trust in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: Felipe Lopez has seemingly taken over as the starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, replacing Brendan Ryan for three of the last four games. He's not hitting well enough to matter outside of NL-only leagues, though.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: BOS3, CHW4
Heating Up: Ben Zobrist finally hit his first home run Thursday and is batting .394 (13 for 33) over his last nine games. He remains a must-start, especially if his power is coming around. Carl Crawford is batting .375 (12 for 32) over his last eight games, but high batting averages are nothing new for him. He remains a must-start.
Cooling Off: With two homers Thursday, Carlos Pena put to rest his lengthy cold streak, leaving the Rays without any players performing below expectations.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face two left-handers this week, which means Gabe Kapler will start twice for Reid Brignac and Willy Aybar will start twice for Hank Blalock .
Lineup Changes: The Rays designated Pat Burrell for assignment on Saturday, allowing Blalock to get the majority of the at-bats at DH. He still has plenty of power potential, but because he's in a platoon situation, he's just an AL-only option.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: @KC2, @MIN3
Heating Up: Michael Young , whose batting average has been around .250 all season, has finally gotten it up over .300 with a 27-for-66 (.409) performance over his last 17 games. He isn't homering at the same rate he did last year, but he's looking like a must-start option again. Elvis Andrus is only getting better and better as a leadoff man, batting .438 (14 for 32) over his last eight games. He's clearly a must-start. Vladimir Guerrero is making the Angels (and some Fantasy owners) feel stupid for giving up on him, batting .407 (11 for 27) with two homers over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: The Rangers are standing by rookie Justin Smoak even though he's batting .162 (6 for 37) over his last 12 games. That doesn't mean you have to.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which means Julio Borbon figures to play a full five games, leaving Daniel Murphy on the bench. He's a decent sleeper for steals this week.
Lineup Changes: None.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: @LAA3, BAL3
Heating Up: John Buck just won't slow down. He has hit safely in 10 straight games, batting .419 (13 for 31) with three home runs during that stretch. He has enough power to matter in mixed leagues while hot, but you can't expect him to stay hot for long. Jose Bautista is even hotter, batting .367 (11 for 30) with six homers over his last 10 games, but he doesn't have quite the same history of futility as Buck. He's worth a flier in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Aaron Hill , who is still playing with soreness in his hamstring even after serving a DL stint, can't get anything going at the plate, batting .107 (6 for 56) over his last 14 games. That 30-homer potential is still lingering there, waiting to burst out, but if you have a viable alternative at second base, you wouldn't be out of your mind to use it now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face one left-hander this week, but with Travis Snider on the DL with a wrist injury, they don't have anyone likely to sit out that game.
Lineup Changes: Edwin Encarnacion , out since mid-April with soreness in his shoulder, came off the DL and regained his starting job at third base Tuesday, allowing Bautista to take Snider's place in the outfield. Encarnacion has enough power potential to make an impact in mixed leagues when hot, but you can leave him for AL-only leagues until he proves healthy and effective.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: @SF3, @SD3
Heating Up: Roger Bernadina , who began this season in the minors, is showing he has something to offer in NL-only leagues, batting .375 (9 for 24) with two homers over his last eight games. He also can steal bases.
Cooling Off: Nyjer Morgan hasn't been able to recapture the form he showed in the second half last year, batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games and .184 (9 for 49) over his last 14. He might not be worth the trouble in Head-to-Head leagues. Ivan Rodriguez is batting .143 (4 for 28) over his last eight games, which isn't a surprise considering he's pushing 40. He's still batting over .300 for the season, but you can't expect that to continue. Ryan Zimmerman is batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last five games, but you'd never bench a stud like him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face two lefties this week. Cristian Guzman might replace Bernadina for one or both of those games, but that platoon situation is still unsettled.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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