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: The Braves have told struggling slugger Andruw Jones to move deeper in the batter's box and get more off the plate and it seemed to have had a positive impact on him Thursday. He had two hits and had a two-run homer taken away at the wall. He's batting just .208 (11-for-53) in August going into play Saturday. Outside of leagues with very deep talent pools, you have to keep the slugger active and hope for a hot streak. ... Wily Mo Pena, acquired by the Nationals on Friday, will platoon in left field with Ryan Church for the foreseeable future. Expect more at bats than he was seeing in Boston, but he remains best used in NL-only play at this time. Church's value takes a hit as he'll lose at bats. ... Phillies 2B Chase Utley (hand) is making progress, but he hasn't been able to swing a bat yet. That makes a return for Week 21 unlikely. Tadahito Iguchi's Fantasy appeal is very close to taking a big hit, though, as Utley will regain his starting spot upon his return. ... Phillies OF Shane Victorino (calf) is with the team on their current road trip and could be back at some point in Week 21, but should be reserved in Fantasy play until at least Week 22 (Aug. 27-Sept. 2). ... Brewers manager Ned Yost moved struggling SS J.J. Hardy back down to the No. 8 slot in the lineup Friday night after he hit second on Thursday. Hardy, though, is showing signs of turning his recent slump around. He is 8-for-23 (.348) in his last six games with three homers and four RBI. As streaky as he is, get him active in all leagues again. ... Yankees 1B/DH Jason Giambi hit two more home runs Friday and has four of them since returning from the disabled list Aug. 7. ... He's back to being a must-start in any format and will cut into the at bats of Andy Phillips and Wilson Betemit. ... Boston C Doug Mirabelli's stint on the 15-day DL should benefit Kevin Cash. He'll catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield for the next two weeks and should get some limited at bats. ... Jeff DaVanon will take the role of the A's fourth outfielder after Mark Kotsay (back) was placed on the 15-day DL. He's worth a look in larger AL-only formats.

Projections are for Aug. 20-26 games. All stats are through Friday's games.

This week's matchups
AL early NL early AL late NL late
Bold indicates a four-game series.
The following teams play seven games this week: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Houston, L.A. Angels, Minnesota, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Texas, Toronto and Washington.
The Giants and Marlins, along with the Cardinals and Cubs, play games on Monday to end weekend series. Taking into account all games with at least a 50 percent chance of precipitation, according to, the following games might be threatened by poor weather: St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (60), Kansas City at Chicago White Sox (60), Texas at Baltimore (60) and Atlanta at Cincinnati (60) on Monday; Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets (60), Minnesota at Baltimore (60), San Diego at Philadelphia (60), Seattle at Texas (60) on Sunday.
B E S T   H I T T I N G   S C H E D U L E
TB pitching: -- 5.74 ERA overall (30th), -- 4.95 Home ERA (30th), -- 4.30 Aug. ERA (14th).
CHW pitching: -- 4.85 ERA overall (27th), -- 4.85 Home ERA (28th), -- 4.78 Aug. ERA (21st).
They'll be on the road and away from the friendly confines of Fenway Park, but facing the worst pitching staff in baseball, Tampa Bay. The other Sox rank 27th.

Five other favorable hitter schedules

  1. Atlanta Braves -- at CIN (4), at STL (3)
  • The Reds have the second worst ERA in baseball and St. Louis ranks 21st in that category.
  • Florida Marlins -- at STL (4), at CIN (3)
    • They'll have the same luck as the Braves this week, facing the same two opponents.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks -- vs. MIL (3), vs. CHC (3)
    • The Brewers have the worst August ERA in baseball (7.00) and Chicago isn't far behind (5.57).
  • Texas Rangers -- at BAL (3), vs. SEA (4)
    • The Orioles and Mariners have a combined August ERA of 5.18.
  • Minnesota Twins -- at SEA (3), at BAL (4)
    • The Twins will also get a crack at both struggling staffs in a full seven-game week.
    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:
    Jason Kendall, C, Chicago Cubs: He's 14-for 39 (.359) over the last two weeks with nine RBI and even a rare (for him) homer.
    Adam LaRoche, 1B, Pittsburgh: In his last 50 at bats, he has three homers, nine RBI and is hitting .313.
    Freddy Sanchez, 2B/3B/SS, Pittsburgh: To go with his excellent positional flexibility, he's 10-for-33 (.303) with eight RBI in the last week.
    Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida: Over the last two weeks he has five homers, 12 RBI and seven steals. He's the hottest shortstop in baseball.
    Mark Reynolds, SS/3B, Arizona: He has 20 hits in his last 43 at bats (.465) with three homers and 13 RBI.
    Raul Ibanez, OF, Seattle: Adam Jones who? He's fighting off the prospect with seven homers, 15 RBI and a .438 average the last two weeks.
    Jacque Jones, OF, Chicago Cubs: He's 10-for-25 (.400) over the last week with two homers, three doubles and seven RBI.
    Moises Alou, OF, New York Mets: Finally healthy, he's managed four homers and 10 RBI in his last 26 at bats.
    W O R S T   H I T T I N G   S C H E D U L E
    BOS Pitching: -- 3.80 ERA overall (2nd), -- 3.53 Road ERA (1st), -- 4.28 Aug. ERA (13th).
    OAK pitching: -- 3.95 ERA overall (3rd), -- 4.40 Road ERA (13th), -- 4.68 Aug. ERA (20th).
    You know you are in for a tough week when you face the second and third best pitching staffs in baseball back-to-back. Hey, maybe they'll get to face Eric Gagne.

    Five other below-average hitter schedules

    1. New York Mets -- vs. SD (3), vs. LAD (3)
    • Already struggling to score runs, facing two of the top five pitching rotations in baseball won't help.
  • Philadelphia Phillies -- vs. LAD (3), vs. SD (3)
    • Their bats have been hot, but they are linked to the same fate as the Mets this week.
  • Chicago White Sox -- vs. KC (3), vs. BOS (4)
    • Believe it or not, the Royals have the second best road ERA in the American League. Boston is first.
  • Toronto Blue Jays -- vs. OAK (3), at LAA (4)
    • The A's have the third best ERA in baseball. The Angels are fifth in the A.L.
  • Milwaukee Brewers -- at ARI (3), at SF (3)
    • A struggling offensive team has to face Brandon Webb and two top-10 pitching staffs. Good luck.
    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:
    Johnny Estrada, C, Milwaukee: He has just two hits in his last 16 at bats (.125) and has just one RBI in August.
    Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota: The reigning AL MVP is just 11-for-60 (.183) in August with no homers and two RBI.
    Dan Uggla, 2B, Florida: He has just three hits in his last 20 at bats (.150) with no extra base hits and no RBI.
    Stephen Drew, SS, Arizona: He is just 7-for-43 (.163) in August with no RBI and no homers.
    Troy Glaus, 3B, Toronto: He's just 4-for-41 (.171) in his August with no RBI and no homers.
    Chris Duncan, OF, St. Louis: He's no Shelley Duncan (just kidding). He is just 4-for-29 (.138) over the last two weeks, though.
    Curtis Granderson, OF, Detroit: Has three hits in his last 24 at bats (.125) during the last week. No homers.
    David DeJesus, OF, Kansas City: In his last six games, he's four for his last 20 at bats (.100) with one RBI and no extra base hits.
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