Week 9 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.

A call-up of Clayton Kershaw and a potential return of Francisco Liriano could add to big-time left-handed arms to the active Fantasy talent pool this week.

Staff reflections

Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb and Dan Haren are must-start, two-start pitchers for all Fantasy leagues. ... Doug Davis , who supplanted elite prospect Max Scherzer in the rotation, Randy Johnson and Micah Owings follow as one-start pitchers in the seven-game week. ... Scherzer will work as a setup man at this point and still could be a candidate to start or close before the end of the season. Keep him stashed in any leagues with reserve spots.

Atlanta Braves: Jair Jurrjens and Tim Hudson are must-start, two-start pitchers. ... Struggling Jo-Jo Reyes , blister-hit journeyman veteran Jorge Campillo and Tom Glavine figure to follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Campillo's start is in question right now, so avoid him if at all possible. The Braves could slot a spot starter in his place. Options include Chuck James , Jeff Bennett and perhaps prospect Charlie Morton out of Triple-A. ... John Smoltz (shoulder) and Rafael Soriano (elbow) could both return this week as part-time closers. Consider them options in deeper leagues initially. Leave them on the DL this week, if they are not activated Sunday, because you will want to see what the Braves do with the closer's role before trusting them in most leagues. ... Rookie Manny Acosta could still be in the mix for save chances, but he would be their No. 3 option once Smoltz and Soriano are full-go. Smoltz might only initially need a co-closer.

Baltimore Orioles: Garrett Olson is a two-start sleeper for deeper leagues, albeit with tough matchups vs. the Yankees and Red Sox. ... Brian Burres should also get two starts if the O's skip the No. 5 starter's spot once again like we expect. ... Steve Trachsel has pitched his way to the waiver wire, at least the bullpen, of late. Potential No. 5 replacements are Radhames Liz (1-5, 4.44 ERA in Triple-A), Hayden Penn (3-2, 4.68 ERA in Triple-A) or long relievers Matt Albers (2-1, 2.12) or Jim Johnson (0-2, 1.44) getting stretched out. ... Albers looks like the most likely candidate, but since that spot can be skipped in Fantasy Week 9 (May 26-June 1) consider him nothing more than an intriguing middle reliever.

Boston Red Sox: Bartolo Colon is a two-start pitcher for any league, but a day off Thursday could allow the Red Sox to skip him next weekend if he needs a cooling off in his return from shoulder and oblique injuries. We don't see him needing to be skipped at this point, though. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka would pick up a second start if Colon doesn't go Monday-Sunday. Dice-K is a must-start in all leagues regardless, especially with that favorable matchup at Seattle. ... Tim Wakefield , Josh Beckett and Jon Lester follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

Chicago Cubs: Ryan Dempster and Sean Gallagher are two-start pitchers. ... Gallagher is on a short leash as the No. 5 starter at this point, but manager Lou Piniella said he was ready to give him at least two more turns. ... Carlos Zambrano , Jason Marquis and Ted Lilly follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Potential June replacements for Gallagher in the No. 5 spot include: Kevin Hart (1-1, 4.12 ERA in Triple-A), Donnie Veal (2-4, 3.20 ERA in Double-A) or Randy Keisler (4-4, 2.78 ERA in Triple-A). ... Sean Marshall has been placed on the Triple-A DL with a sore hamstring and won't be an option in the next few weeks at this point. ... Another demoted lefty Rich Hill is also on the DL. Bouncing from starting to relief and back to starting is never good for the left wing, so consider them more of second-half rotation options right now.

Chicago White Sox: Javier Vazquez and Mark Buehrle are two-start pitchers. ... Gavin Floyd , John Danks and Jose Contreras follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Lance Broadway (5-2, 2.43 ERA in Triple-A) is the likely No. 6 starter for the White Sox if they need one for doubleheaders or due to injury. Take a flier on him in deeper AL-only formats if you want a potential call-up in June in those really deeper Fantasy leagues.

Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Cueto is an advisable two-start pitcher. ... Aaron Harang , Edinson Volquez , Bronson Arroyo and likely Matt Belisle follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... We figured Homer Bailey would replace Belisle before June 1. Belisle next takes a turn May 31, but Bailey has been struggling in Triple-A of late and likely cost himself a call-up at this point.

Cleveland Indians: Paul Byrd is a two-start pitcher. ... With Roberto Hernandez (hip) out at least a month, the return of Jake Westbrook (rib) will just slot on Carmona's turn. Westbrook is a nice injury-returnee sleeper for deeper leagues. ... Aaron Laffey remains in the rotation now and is a one-start option along with Westbrook, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia .

Colorado Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa and Ubaldo Jimenez are two-start pitchers. ... Greg Reynolds , Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook are one-start options in the seven-game week. The injury-hit Rockies don't figure to score enough runs to make any of their pitchers reliable Fantasy options at this point.

Detroit Tigers: Kenny Rogers is a high-risk, two-start pitcher. ... With a day off Thursday, the Tigers could just choose to skip Rogers off his Sunday start. ... Dontrelle Willis returned from the DL and a rehab assignment as a reliever, but he could replace Rogers or rookie Armando Galarraga after their next turn early this week. Don't start Willis outside of deeper Rotisserie leagues at this point, but take a flier on him for some potential dividends come June. He is too good to remain middle relief, especially amid Rogers' struggles to start the season. ... Jeremy Bonderman , Galarraga, Nate Robertson and Justin Verlander are one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Florida Marlins: Ricky Nolasco is a two-start pitcher for deeper leagues, albeit with tough matchups. ... Burgeoning star Andrew Miller could also be a two-start option if the Marlins choose to skip the No. 5 spot after a Thursday offday. ... No. 5 starter Burke Badenhop is on shaky ground at this point and the Marlins won't need a No. 5 starter until June 3. ... Double-A prospect Chris Volstad is an option as a June call-up, if Badenhop is sent down. ... Logan Kensing was slated to make a spot start in Badenhop's place Saturday before it was rained out. ... Scott Olsen are Mark Hendrickson one-start pitchers in the six-game week.

Houston Astros: Shawn Chacon is a two-start pitcher. ... Wandy Rodriguez (groin) follows him in the rotation Wednesday in a return from the DL. ... Rodriguez will be followed by Roy Oswalt , Brandon Backe and likely Chris Sampson . ... Brian Moehler is likely headed back to long relief, but he could be a candidate to take Sampson's rotation spot, too, perhaps. Consider Moehler and Sampson high-risk options for the deepest of NL-only leagues.

Kansas City Royals: Brett Tomko is a high-risk, two-start pitcher and has long been a guy we thought would surrender his rotation spot to Triple-A starter Kyle Davies (5-2, 2.17 ERA). ... Davies has the look of a June 1 call-up and could replace Tomko in the rotation after one more turn, perhaps. Consider Davies a flier in deeper AL-only formats right now. ... Brian Bannister is also a two-start pitcher. ... Zack Greinke , Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jon Garland is the team's lone two-start pitcher. ... Ervin Santana , Joe Saunders , Jered Weaver and ace John Lackey follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda are two-start pitchers. ... Derek Lowe , Brad Penny and elite prospect Clayton Kershaw follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Kershaw was one of the June 1 call-up guarantees and is a 20-year-old left-hander with potentially dominate stuff right away. Consider him a candidate to pick up in all leagues. He is that good and will make regular turns as long as he pitches well.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ben Sheets and Dave Bush are two-start pitchers. ... Jeff Suppan , new No. 5 starter Seth McClung and Manny Parra follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

Minnesota Twins: Nick Blackburn is a two-start pitcher. ... Livan Hernandez , Kevin Slowey , Boof Bonser (maybe) and Glen Perkins follow as one-start options. ... Bonser is having significant issues and could be a candidate for a demotion at this point. ... Scott Baker (groin) works in an extended spring training game Monday and could be a candidate to return Saturday. A day off could allow Perkins to slide ahead of Bonser and Bonser's spot could be taken by Baker. ... Francisco Liriano is the more likely replacement for Bonser, though. He starts for Rochester on Sunday and would be return on turn in Bonser's spot. Liriano has been much more in command of late and has lowered his Triple-A ERA to 3.93. Take the flier on Liriano in all leagues immediately. We have said June 1 is a viable return date for Liriano and Bonser's struggles make it pretty apparent the Twins could us him.

New York Mets: Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana are two-start pitchers. ... Oliver Perez , Claudio Vargas and John Maine follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... Pedro Martinez (hamstring) is back from the Dominican Republic and reportedly can make himself an option to return in Fantasy Week 10 (June 2-8). Reports say he could take Vargas' rotation spot in the San Francisco set. ... Pedro won't be of use this week, but if you want to get him off waivers, he can be a stashee immediately.

New York Yankees: Darrell Rasner is a two-start pitcher. ... Ian Kennedy , Andy Pettitte , Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... Joba Chamberlain is up to 40 pitches in his stretching-out process and could make a 50-pitch appearance Tuesday or Wednesday and then a 60-pitch appearance over the weekend. He won't be an option to start until late in Fantasy Week 10 (June 2-8) at the earliest. ... LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth assume the bulk of Chamberlain's vacated setup role.

Oakland Athletics: Greg Smith is a two-start pitcher. ... Rich Harden , Dana Eveland , Justin Duchscherer and Joe Blanton follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ian Snell is a two-start pitcher. ... Tom Gorzelanny , Zach Duke , Phil Dumatrait and Paul Maholm follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

San Diego Padres: Randy Wolf is a two-start pitcher. ... Shawn Estes , Wil Ledezma , Greg Maddux and likely Josh Banks follow as one-start options in the six-game week. ... Jake Peavy (elbow) needs another MRI on Tuesday after experiencing more soreness. He is out until at least mid-June and Chris Young (broken nose, face) is out until at least late June at this point.

San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum is a must-start, two-start pitcher. ... Jonathan Sanchez , Barry Zito , Matt Cain and Pat Misch follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez (leg) returns as a two-start pitcher from his one-start hiatus. ... Miguel Batista , Erik Bedard , Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have chosen to move Joel Pineiro off his two-start week because of a tender groin and some struggles holding leads of late. ... Braden Looper becomes a two-start pitcher. ... Adam Wainwright , Kyle Lohse , Todd Wellemeyer and the skipped Pineiro follow as one-start options in the six-game week.

Tampa Bay Rays: Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine are two-start pitchers. ... Matt Garza , Edwin Jackson and James Shields follow as one-start options in the seven-game week. ... David Price made his pro debut last week, spectacularly, as Class A Vero Beach. He figures to position himself for a second-half call-up, which makes him a potential impact Fantasy option down the stretch this season.

Texas Rangers: Sidney Ponson is a certain two-start pitcher, while Vicente Padilla will likely get a second start, too, as the Rangers figure to skip the No. 5 spot after a Thursday offday. ... Kevin Millwood (groin) is expected to return for the opener of a key series vs. the A's. ... With the Rangers likely going with a four-man rotation for the next week, Scott Feldman and Doug Mathis are candidates for removal from the rotation. ... Kason Gabbard is a certain one-start pitcher, along with Millwood. ... When the No. 5 spot is needed again, Triple-A rehab starters Dustin Nippert (foot) or Luis Mendoza (shoulder, blister) could be options to assume that turn from Feldman and/or Mathis.

Toronto Blue Jays: Shaun Marcum and A.J. Burnett are two-start pitchers. ... Roy Halladay , Jesse Litsch and Dustin McGowan follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

Washington Nationals: Jason Bergmann and Shawn Hill are two-start pitchers. ... Odalis Perez , John Lannan and Tim Redding follow as one-start options in the seven-game week.

Fantasy Week 9 (May 26-June 1)

This week's two-start pitchers
Must-start options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Brandon Webb at ATL Jurrjens vs WAS Bergmann
Ben Sheets at WAS Bergmann vs HOU Sampson
Johan Santana vs FLA Miller vs LAD Kuroda
Dan Haren vs SF Lincecum vs WAS Hill
Javier Vazquez at CLE Lincecum at TB Kazmir
Scott Kazmir vs TEX Ponson vs CHW Vazquez
Chad Billingsley at CHC Dempster at NYM Pelfrey
Shaun Marcum vs KC Tomko at LAA Lackey
Tim Hudson at MIL Bush at CIN Cueto
Tim Lincecum at ARI Haren vs SD Wolf
A.J. Burnett at OAK Smith at LAA Garland
Felix Hernandez vs BOS Colon vs DET Rogers?
Jair Jurrjens vs ARI Webb at CIN Belisle?
Johnny Cueto vs PIT Snell vs ATL Hudson
Advisable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Ryan Dempster vs LAD Billingsley vs COL De La Rosa
Bartolo Colon at SEA Hernandez at BAL Burres
Jon Garland vs DET Rogers vs TOR Burnett
Greg Smith vs TOR Burnett at TEX Padilla
Darrell Rasner at BAL Olson at MIN Blackburn
Vicente Padilla at TB Sonnanstine vs OAK Smith
Questionable options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Andrew Miller at NYM Santana at PHI Moyer
Ubaldo Jimenez at PHI Kendrick at CHC Gallagher
Andy Sonnanstine vs TEX Padilla vs CHW Buehrle
Mark Buehrle at CLE Laffey at TB Sonnanstine
Hiroki Kuroda at CHC Gallagher at NYM Santana
Ian Snell at CIN Cueto at STL Looper
Brian Bannister vs MIN Blackburn vs CLE Byrd
Randy Wolf vs WAS Hill at SF Lincecum
Nick Blackburn at KC Bannister vs NYY Rasner
Paul Byrd vs CHW Vazquez at KC Bannister
Braden Looper vs HOU Chacon vs PIT Snell
Shawn Chacon at STL Looper at MIL Bush
Mike Pelfrey vs FLA Nolasco vs LAD Billingsley
Dave Bush vs ATL Hudson vs HOU Chacon
High-risk options
Pitcher Start No. 1 Start No. 2
Jason Bergmann vs MIL Sheets at ARI Webb
Sidney Ponson at TB Kazmir vs OAK Blanton
Jamie Moyer vs COL De La Rosa vs FLA Miller
Kenny Rogers at LAA Garland at SEA Hernandez
Ricky Nolasco at NYM Pelfrey at PHI Hamels
Garrett Olson vs NYY Rasner vs BOS Lester
Brian Burres ? vs NYY Kennedy vs BOS Colon
Shawn Hill at SD Wolf at ARI Haren
Sean Gallagher vs LAD Kuroda vs COL Jimenez
Brett Tomko ? at TOR Marcum vs CLE Sabathia
Jorge De La Rosa at PHI Moyer at CHC Dempster

Pitch a question

Eric Fontes, New York, N.Y.: I can start as many as five starters next week. I am set on using Dan Haren , James Shields , A.J. Burnett and Shaun Marcum . My question is do I start two-start Greg Smith or one-start Joe Saunders ? I hope to guarantee a victory with Smith facing Burnett, so I'm leaning toward him over Saunders. What do you think?

Emack: Saunders is a must-start in most leagues at this point, but we can see the logic in going with Smith's two-starts. It is a win-win for you. Yours truly would start Saunders without thinking about it, but taking the shot at Smith is an aggressive and justified call.

John Anthony: Is Aaron Laffey going to be the odd man out when Jake Westbrook (rib) returns?

Emack: Nope. Carmona's DL assignment and expected one-month absence saves Laffey or Byrd in the rotation.

Mark Donovan, Trumbull, Conn.: I'm in a 10-team 5x5 Rotisserie league with strikeouts. I'm in the top three in all categories except wins. I just dropped Max Scherzer and Johnny Cueto for John Danks and Ted Lilly . I wanted to grab some wins and not get hurt in the other categories specifically Ks. How did I do?

Emack: We would drop Danks and get Cueto back. The streaky young pitcher is a two-start pitcher we like this week. The reliever Scherzer warrants being owned in most leagues, except yours is a small 10-team league.

You can e-mail us 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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