Week 25 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: They have sunk in the postseason hunt, but this should be a bountiful week for the D-Backs and their pitchers. We like all of the Arizona starters in Fantasy crunch time. ... Doug Davis and Dan Haren are two-start pitchers. ... Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson and Max Scherzer follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Also, Chad Qualls -- not Jon Rauch -- has taken over as closer. Struggling Brandon Lyon can be cut in all leagues. Qualls is a nice sleeper in the season's final two weeks.

Atlanta Braves: James Parr is a high-risk two-start pitcher vs. the Phillies and Mets. ... Jair Jurrjens, Mike Hampton, Jo-Jo Reyes and Jorge Campillo follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. They won't need a six-man rotation after Saturday's doubleheader because they have a scheduled offday Monday. ... Reyes is a very high-risk option, because they might not even give him another start after he was yanked early Saturday, throwing just two innings. Journeyman Buddy Carlyle could replace him in the rotation, but he is not a viable Fantasy option either.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Waters is a high-risk, two-start pitcher at Toronto and New York (Yankees). ... Brian Bass, Daniel Cabrera, Garrett Olson and Radhames Liz figure to follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Jeremy Guthrie (shoulder) is as likely to be shut down for the season as he is to pitch -- which would only happen in Olson's spot at this point. Consider Guthrie too risky to use right now. The O's figure to be overly cautious with their staff ace.

Boston Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka is a potential two-start pitcher, but the Red Sox could go with a six-man rotation after the return of Bartolo Colon on Saturday. As of now, Colon is not getting another start, so Dice-K should start twice. "We don't have an answer to that right now," manager Terry Francona said. "We have an off-day coming up in Toronto (Thursday). We don't have the need to skip anybody. Everybody seems healthy. We'll probably sit down (Monday) to see how we feel about it. Some of it may have to do with circumstances -- what our record is, which way we're going. So we may not know (Monday)." ... Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Paul Byrd and Jon Lester are each fairly certain to get one start in the six-game week. Dice-K or Colon will start the sixth game -- Colon if they have taken over the division lead and Dice-K if they have not. They might want to test out Colon as a reliever, because that would likely be how he would be used in the postseason.

Top 10 Pitchers Added
Player % Change
1. Alfredo Aceves, RP, NYY 18
2. Max Scherzer, RP, ARI 17
3. Luis Ayala, RP, NYM 13
4. Brandon Morrow, SP, SEA 9
5. Bartolo Colon, SP, BOS 9
6. Chad Qualls, RP, ARI 9
7. Scott Lewis, SP, CLE 8
8. James R. Parr, SP, ATL 8
9. Doug Davis, SP, ARI 7
10. Shaun Marcum, SP, TOR 6

Chicago Cubs: Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster are two-start pitchers. Jason Marquis, Rich Harden and Carlos Zambrano follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... The third game of that Astros series will only be played Monday, Sept. 29 if it affects the postseason. Don't count on it. That will leave the Cubs a game short this season.

Chicago White Sox: A Sunday doubleheader might necessitate a six-man rotation. ... Mark Buehrle is an advisable two-start pitcher. ... Gavin Floyd, Lance Broadway, likely Clayton Richard, Javier Vazquez and John Danks figure to follow in the seven-game week. ... Broadway has already been penciled into the No. 5 spot Wednesday, so consider him a sleeper in deeper AL-only leagues. The No. 6 spot could be Richard or one of Vazquez/Danks on three day's rest. Vazquez is more likely to be called upon on short rest. If he is, in lieu of a six-man rotation, Floyd would pick up a second start. We think it is more likely they use Richard and save Floyd to open the final series at Minnesota the following Tuesday.

Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo has been hot and is an advisable two-start pitcher vs. the Cardinals and Brewers. Despite the tough matchups, Arroyo has been good of late, so consider him a sleeper. ... Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Ramon Ramirez and Johnny Cueto figure to follow in a six-game week. ... Micah Owings is now in uniform, but there are no current plans to get him a start at this point. He could pitch for Ramirez, which we doubt, in place of Cueto -- if they choose to shut him down -- or in a six-man rotation.

Cleveland Indians: Scott Lewis is expected to be a two-start pitcher in place of Anthony Reyes (forearm). Lewis has a pair of tough matchups vs. the Twins and Tigers, but he is risk worth taking in deeper formats after his spectacular debut. ... Zach Jackson, Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona and Jeremy Sowers are one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... We don't see Reyes getting a start at this point, since the Indians will be cautious with their prized young arm.

Colorado Rockies: Greg Reynolds, who replaces veteran Livan Hernandez, is a risky two-start pitcher vs. the Padres and D-Backs. ... Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa and Aaron Cook follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Hernandez has been relegated to long relief in favor of Reynolds. Ignore Hernandez in all leagues now.

Detroit Tigers: Their rotation is a mess due to rainouts and slotting of some spot starters this week. ... Dontrelle Willis, Zach Miner and Freddy Garcia are slated to start Monday-Wednesday, while Armando Galarraga, Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers should go in the weekend series. ... Neither Chris Lambert nor Nate Robertson likely won't be getting a start as they go with a psuedo six-man rotation. Also, it is unclear when or if Willis and Garcia will remain in the rotation after their spot starts.

Florida Marlins: Chris Volstad is a two-start pitcher vs. the Astros and Phillies, two potent offensive teams. Consider him a risk in mixed leagues. ... Ricky Nolasco, Scott Olsen, Josh Johnson and likely Anibal Sanchez follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Andrew Miller remains in the bullpen, but he could be an option to replace the struggling Sanchez in the final weeks. Consider Miller or Sanchez too risky to use this week.

Houston Astros: The Astros are playing Sunday night and Monday afternoon in Milwaukee vs. the Cubs after the rainouts caused by Hurricane Ike. Brian Moehler and Roy Oswalt are two-start pitchers as they start Monday in Milwaukee vs. the Cubs and Tuesday in Florida vs. the Marlins, respectively. ... A TBD (perhaps Wandy Rodriguez), Alberto Arias and Randy Wolf follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. Jack Cassel would likely start Wednesday if Rodriguez (oblique) remains out. ... The third game of that Cubs series will only be played Monday, Sept. 29 if it affects the postseason. Don't count on it. That will leave the Astros a game short this season.

Kansas City Royals: Kyle Davies and Brandon Duckworth are high-risk, two-start pitchers vs. the Mariners and White Sox. ... Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: They have shuffled their rotation of late, but John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Jon Garland and Ervin Santana are slated to start in succession this week. ... It is probable Dustin Moseley slots as a No. 6 starter, which takes away Lackey's two-start week.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Lowe are must-start, two-start pitchers at Pittsburgh and vs. San Francisco. ... Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Greg Maddux follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. We like all the Dodgers starters this week because they are hot and they have great matchups.

Milwaukee Brewers: CC Sabathia is a must-start, two-start pitcher. ... Ben Sheets, Manny Parra, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... They Brewers have a Monday offday after Sunday's doubleheader, so they don't need a six-man rotation like some other teams.

Minnesota Twins: A Saturday doubleheader and no days off means the Twins need to use Scott Baker or Glen Perkins on short rest or slot a No. 6 starter (more likely). ... Kevin Slowey is certain to be a two-start pitcher, but Tuesday starter Francisco Liriano might also be in the Twins go with Baker or Perkins on short rest in lieu of a No. 6 starter == likely Boof Bonser or Philip Humber at the front end of a bullpen game. Consider the latter more likely, especially since Liriano is already real high on his season's innings total.

New York Mets: They go from a four-man rotation to potentially needing a sixth starter, which was necessitated by Saturday's doubleheader. ... Pedro Martinez is a two-start pitcher ... Mike Pelfrey, a TBD (Nelson Figueroa (likely) or Brandon Knight (less likely)), Johan Santana and Oliver Perez follow as one-start pitchers. Jonathon Niese, despite his great second career start, won't start until Sept. 22 vs. the Chicago Cubs.

New York Yankees: A Saturday doubleheader necessitates a six-man rotation. ... Alfredo Aceves is currently slated to be a two-start pitcher, but that status is tenuous. Ian Kennedy could be brought up from the minors or the Yankees could choose to slot Andy Pettitte on regular rest Sunday. Consider Aceves a risky option at this point. ... Pettitte is struggling, but he will at least get one start vs. the White Sox. ... Phil Hughes is likely to start Wednesday in the No. 6 spot, followed by Mike Mussina, Sidney Ponson and Carl Pavano as one-start pitchers. Consider Hughes a sleeper in deeper leagues, although that White Sox matchup is a fairly tough one.

Oakland Athletics: Sean Gallagher is a two-start pitcher vs. the Angels and Mariners. Consider him a sleeper in deeper leagues after he returned a week ago with four hitless and scoreless innings. He will be able to go deeper into games this week now. ... Greg Smith, Josh Outman (in place of Dallas Braden (groin)), Gio Gonzalez and Dana Eveland are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have a doubleheader Sunday, but a Monday day off will allow them to hold to a five-man rotation. That is good news, because they were undecided on their No. 5 between Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ anyway, so slotting a sixth starter would have been tough. ... Jamie Moyer is penned in for Tuesday, so he is certain to be a two-start pitcher. ... Happ likely follows in front of other one-start pitchers Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Brett Myers.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Even though Tom Gorzelanny (finger) is out for the season, the Pirates seem to be sticking with a six-man rotation, slotting Jason Davis on Sunday and likely Saturday. ... That means only Ross Ohlendorf will be a two-start pitcher. ... Tuesday's starter Jeff Karstens could be a two-starter too if the Pirates go back to a five-man rotation. That merely makes Karstens a consideration in NL-only formats in crunch time.

San Diego Padres: The Padres are using a six-man rotation and have a six-game week. They could skip someone on the back end to make Monday's starter Wade LeBlanc a two-start pitcher, but don't count on it. ... LeBlanc, Shawn Estes, Josh Geer, Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Cha Seung Baek each figure to be one-start pitchers.

San Francisco Giants: Brad Hennessey is making starts for displaced No. 5 starter Kevin Correia and he figures to be a two-start pitcher if he pitches well Monday. Correia is not hurt, so he could steal Hennessey's second start or slot as a No. 6 starter later in the week. ... Matt Cain is a two-start pitcher, too, as long as the Giants don't add Correia as a No. 6 starter. ... Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Seattle Mariners: Carlos Silva and Brandon Morrow figure to be two-start pitchers at Kansas City and Oakland, two favorable matchups. Silva is really not worth your trust, while Morrow is an advisable option in deeper leagues. ... Ryan Rowland-Smith, Ryan Feierabend and Felix Hernandez follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

St. Louis Cardinals: Braden Looper is a two-start pitcher at Cincy and Chicago (Cubs). ... Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse (returning from suspension), Adam Wainwright and perhaps Brad Thompson follow as one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... Joel Pineiro could start for Thompson, but neither figures to be a trustworthy option.

Tampa Bay Rays: A Saturday doubleheader figured to necessitate a six-man rotation, but instead of debuting David Price as a No. 6 starter in the finale of the crucial Red Sox series at home, they will slot Matt Garza on three-day's rest. ... Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine are two-start pitchers vs. Boston and Minnesota. ... Garzia, Shields and Jackson are one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... The Rays appear inclined to slot Price as a reliever down the stretch and in the postseason at this point. We thought he was a legit No. 6 starter debuting this week, but leaving him away from the pressures of a Red Sox series finale makes sense.

Texas Rangers: Brandon McCarthy is a two-start pitcher vs. the Tigers and Angels. Consider him a risky option better left for AL-only leagues. ... Kevin Millwood, Dustin Nippert, Matt Harrison and Vicente Padilla are one-start pitchers in the six-game week. ... There is a slight chance -- very slight -- the Rangers could slot Scott Feldman as a No. 6 starter, which would take away McCarthy's second start. Don't count on that.

Toronto Blue Jays: Shaun Marcum is a two-start pitcher vs. the Orioles and Red Sox. Consider him in deeper formats because of that tough second matchup. ... David Purcey, A.J. Burnett, Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Washington Nationals: John Lannan and Odalis Perez are two-start pitchers vs. the Mets and Padres. Consider them high-risk options best left for the deepest of NL-only leagues. ... Shairon Martis, Tim Redding and Collin Balester follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week.

Fantasy Week 25 (Sept. 15-21)

Potential two-start pitchers
Must-start options
CC Sabathia at CHC Harden at CIN Arroyo
Daisuke Matsuzaka at TB Kazmir at TOR Marcum
Roy Oswalt at FLA Volstad at PIT Ohlendorf
Dan Haren vs SF Cain at COL Reynolds
Scott Kazmir vs BOS Matsuzaka vs MIN Blackburn
Advisable options
Ryan Dempster vs MIL Sabathia vs STL Looper
Matt Cain at ARI Haren at LAD Lowe
Ted Lilly at HOU Moehler vs STL Thompson
Mike Pelfrey at WAS Perez at ATL Parr
Kevin Slowey at CLE Lewis at TB Sonnnanstine
Mark Buehrle at NYY Aceves at KC Duckworth
Bronson Arroyo vs STL Looper vs MIL Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda at PIT Ohlendorf vs SF Hennessey
Andy Sonnanstine vs BOS Beckett vs MIN Slowey
Brandon Morrow at KC Duckworth at OAK Gallagher
Shaun Marcum vs BAL Waters vs BOS Matsuzaka
Jamie Moyer at ATL Parr at FLA Volstad
Questionable options
Pedro Martinez at WAS Lannan at ATL Campillo
Braden Looper at CIN Arroyo at CHC Dempster
Doug Davis vs SF Hennessey at COL Cook
Chris Volstad vs HOU Oswalt vs PHI Moyer
Brian Moehler vs CHC Lilly at PIT Davis
John Lannan vs NYM Martinez vs SD Young
Brandon McCarthy vs DET Willis vs LAA Santana
Sean Gallagher vs LAA Lackey vs SEA Morrow
Scott Lewis vs MIN Slowey vs DET Rogers
High-risk options
Alfredo Aceves vs CHW Buehrle vs BAL Waters
James R. Parr vs PHI Moyer vs NYM Pelfrey
Greg Reynolds vs SD LeBlanc vs ARI Haren
Odalis Perez vs NYM Pelfrey vs SD Baek
Kyle Davies vs SEA Silva vs CHW Danks
Carlos Silva at KC Davies at OAK Eveland
Ross Ohlendorf vs LAD Kuroda vs HOU Oswalt
Chris Waters at TOR Marcum at NYY Aceves
Brad Hennessey at ARI Davis at LAD Kuroda
Brandon Duckworth vs SEA Morrow vs CHW Buehrle

Pitch a question

Jesse M., Chicago: I'm in a 10-team Head-to-Head league and I need to start seven pitchers. Halladay, Peavy, Liriano, Nathan, Volquez, Kazmir and Burnett are my current seven with Beckett, Greinke and Wainright on my bench and also Buehrle, Kuroda, Morrow, Arroyo and Slowey solid options in the free-agent list (all two-starters). Which seven should I go with?

Emack: Without knowing your scoring system, we would go with Beckett over Nathan.

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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