The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every Saturday, we provide you with favorable hitting matchups for teams, as well as which hitters are hot or not. The Pitching Planner, complete with upcoming two-start pitchers, will be posted on Sunday.
Taking BP: Alfonso Soriano (hamstring) is expected to play Monday -- in left field -- for the Cubs. He should put less strain on his legs at that position. Felix Pie and Jacque Jones have been playing center field for the Cubs ... X-rays on Mike Jacobs' thumb were negative, but check his status after Sunday before leaving him in your lineup ... Stephen Drew has dropped from leadoff to second in the batting order for Arizona ... Russell Branyan is on fire for San Diego and has begun to take starts away at third base over rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff ... Alex Rodriguez is on pace for 129 home runs and 324 RBI -- not a bad season.
Projections are for April 23-29 games. All stats are through Friday's games.
|This week's matchups|
|AL early||AL middle||AL late||NL early||NL late|
|Italics denotes a two-game series.|
|The following teams play seven games this week: The entire American League.|
Taking into account all games with at least a 50 percent chance of precipitation according to the Weather.com, the following might be threatened by poor weather: Boston at N.Y. Yankees (60 percent), Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (60), Florida at Philadelphia (60) on Saturday.
|B E S T H I T T I N G S C H E D U L E|
|' 06 Stadium stats: Camden Yards, 10.2 RPG (9th); McAfee Coliseum, 8.9 RPG (28th).|
|BAL pitching: 4.01 ERA overall (17th), 2.28 Home ERA (2nd), 5.44 '06 Sept. ERA (26th).|
|SEA pitching: 5.52 ERA overall (28th), 7.56 Road ERA (30th), 5.49 '06 Sept. ERA (27th).|
|TB pitching: 6.09 ERA overall (30th), 6.16 Road ERA (27th), 5.11 '06 Sept. ERA (25th).|
|The A's face an Orioles staff that is still in the lower echelon and they have five home games against two of the three worst staffs in the majors right now.|
Five other favorable hitter schedules
- Philadelphia Phillies -- vs. WAS (3), vs. FLA (3)
- Six home games at homer-friendly Citizens Bank Park against two of the three worst staffs in the NL.
- The Twins face three divisional rivals, but two of those series are at home. And the Tigers' staff ERA is sub par right now.
- The Mets are looking at six games against two teams with an average staff ERA of 4.39.
- As of this weekend, the Rangers will end up facing three pitching staffs with ERAs higher than 3.90.
- The 'Stros face two staffs still trying to find their identities for now, languishing in the bottom third of the majors.
|H O T H I T T E R S|
|We aren't suggesting you start these players no matter what, but you might consider starting them over struggling stars. The following eight hitters have extremely favorable matchups and/or are in the midst of hot streaks:|
|Rob Bowen, C, San Diego: You can likely get one more week of a hot-hitting Bowen while Josh Bard (groin) remains on the DL. Bowen is batting .316 in his past 19 at-bats.|
|Lance Berkman, 1B, Houston: He's going to enjoy this week. His upcoming opposing pitchers are Zach Duke (.667), Tony Armas (.667, 2 HR), Chris Capuano (.429) and Dave Bush (.625).|
|Jeff Kent, 2B, L.A. Dodgers: Solid matchups are on the way: Matt Morris (.353, 4 HR), Noah Lowry (.300, 3 HR), Greg Maddux (.280, 4 HR) and David Wells (.500).|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS, L.A. Angels: Cabrera is hitting well and has some pitchers ahead that he has hit well against in the past: Jae Seo (.579), Jon Garland (.474, 2 HR) and Mark Buehrle (.385, 1 HR).|
|Mike Lowell, 3B, Boston: His upcoming opponents have a tough time getting him out: Roy Halladay (.375, 1 HR), Daniel Cabrera (1.000, 1 HR), Adam Loewen (.667) and Mike Mussina (.545, 1 HR).|
|David DeJesus, OF, Kansas City: He's eighth in the AL with a .358 batting average and has some solid upcoming matchups: Sidney Ponson (.455), Boof Bonser (.500, 1 HR) and Jarrod Washburn (.400).|
|Xavier Nady, OF, Pittsburgh: His upcoming matchups are certainly favorable: Wandy Rodriguez (.500, 1 HR), Eric Milton (.400, 1 HR), Matt Belisle (.500) and Aaron Harang (.462).|
|Moises Alou, OF, N.Y. Mets: Alou is batting .395 with two homers and nine RBI over the past two weeks.|
|W O R S T H I T T I N G S C H E D U L E|
|' 06 Stadium stats: Wrigley Field, 9.9 RPG (14th); Minute Maid Park, 9.1 RPG (24th).|
|CHC pitching: 3.60 ERA overall (9th), 2.92 Home ERA (8th), 4.46 '06 Sept. ERA (17th).|
|HOU pitching: 3.73 ERA overall (12th), 3.21 Home ERA (10th), 3.40 '06 Sept. ERA (5th).|
|Six games on the road for this squad against two of the current top 12 staffs in the majors spells trouble for the Brew Crew. They also face both teams' aces in Carlos Zambrano and Roy Oswalt.|
Five other below-average hitter schedules
- Colorado Rockies -- at NYM (3), vs. ATL (3)
- Three tough games at Shea Stadium against the current top staff in the majors and then three more against the top-six staff of the Braves.
- Both of the Dodgers' opponents this week rank in the top 10 in staff ERA in the majors.
- The D-Rays are looking at five road games, including three against the top staff in the AL.
- The Red Sox are averaging just over 3 RPG on the road (23rd) so far this season and they'll see five away games this week.
- While the Jays do get three home games against the Rangers, they'll still have to travel to face two of the top-15 staffs in the majors right now.
|C O L D H I T T E R S|
|We aren't suggesting you sit anyone, but take a look at your roster to see if you have a better alternative. The following eight hitters have poor matchups and/or are in the midst of cold streaks:|
|Gerald Laird, C, Texas: Is it time for me to eat my words on Laird? He's hitting only .067 over the past week.|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B, Texas: It's another slow start for Big Tex -- he's hitting only .222 the past two weeks with just two RBI.|
|Orlando Hudson, 2B, Arizona: The O-Dawg is red-hot -- but he has had trouble against his upcoming opposing pitchers: David Wells (.190), Barry Zito (.200) and Matt Cain (.000).|
|Miguel Tejada, SS, Baltimore: The slugging SS is hitting .327 over the past couple weeks -- but he has no homers and only one RBI in that span.|
|Joe Crede, 3B, Chicago White Sox: He's hitting only .136 (3-for-22) in his past six games and the pitchers he'll be facing have been unkind to him: Gil Meche (.100), Nate Robertson (.154, 2 HR) and John Lackey (.231, 1 HR).|
|Emil Brown, OF, Kansas City: He's hitting only .171 in his past 35 at-bats and Billy Butler is crushing the ball in the minors.|
|Gary Matthews, Jr., OF, L.A. Angels: Over the past two weeks, he's batting only .136 with no RBI. I bet you're wishing he was on the juice now!|
|Mike Cameron, OF, San Diego: Cameron's hitting under .200 over the past two scoring periods with only three RBI.|
You can e-mail your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to include "Attn: Hitting Planner" in the subject heading. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses or answers to all questions.