The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every Saturday, we provide you with favorable and unfavorable matchups, along with news and notes on lineups. The Pitching Planner, complete with upcoming two-start pitchers, will be posted on Sunday.

Don't forget to check out our Weekly Planner page, under the stats tab on your league pages. It has the weekly matchups for each team broken down by day, the number of games ahead for each team and finally, the hitting and pitching stats for this season (broken down by home and away).

Weather planner: Taking into account all games with at least a 50 percent chance of precipitation according to, the following games could be in jeopardy: Pittsburgh at N.Y. Mets (60 percent chance) on Monday and Toronto at Boston (70) on Tuesday.

This week's news and notes for each team:

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-Backs continue to hit and pitch well, with a young star-studded lineup. They have six games at home this week, and they rank close to the top in all offensive categories ... Strangely, Chris B. Young has actually played a little bit better on the road than at home.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves are one of two teams with just five games in Week 5. Granted, they are at Washington (where the Nats rank last in the NL in home ERA with 5.11) and then three games at home against the Reds (they're scoring just 4.3 RPG on the road) ... Gregor Blanco is starting to take at-bats away from LF Matt Diaz and CF Mark Kotsay. Blanco has a hit in his past six games, with four multi-hit performances during that span. He's proven to be just a singles hitter, though, and has just one extra base hit in 26 at-bats.

Baltimore Orioles: Luke Scott's batting average is dropping like a rock recently, down from .389 a week ago ... Ramon Hernandez is batting near the Mendoza Line.

Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz is finally finding his power stroke, with three homers and 16 RBI in the past eight games ... Manny Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia are battling for the AL batting title -- in April ... Boston has six games at Fenway Park this week, and they rank among the best in the majors in scoring at home.

Chicago Cubs: If you haven't noticed lately, Geovany Soto is now the leading catcher in most Head-to-Head formats. Through Thursday, the rookie backstop leads the position in base hits (25) and RBI (14), and he's second in doubles (seven), walks (13) and a batting average (.352) ... Ronny Cedeno is getting starts at both second base and shortstop, and he has hit well enough to force his way in the lineup in different spots. With Alfonso Soriano (calf) injured, and Mark DeRosa in left field, Cedeno becomes a nice middle infielder. He has four multi-hit games in his past six.

Chicago White Sox: Nick Swisher is struggling again, dropping his batting average 50 points in one week. As the leadoff hitter, he's not getting many RBI chances, and he has just one RBI in his past 13 games. He swapped spots in the lineup with Orlando Cabrera, and the latter is doing well there. Cabrera is on a seven game hitting streak and is hitting over .300 over his last six games.

Cincinnati Reds: They have six games away from Great American Ball Park and they're up against two top 10 ERA staffs (STL and ATL) ... Jeff Keppinger is not only playing well as the starting shortstop, but he's leading the team in base hits (28) and doubles (seven) through Thursday (28) ... Jerry Hairston is taking at-bats away from Corey Patterson and he's hitting well (over .400 in his first four games).

Cleveland Indians: Casey Blake broke out with a big scoring period this week, hitting .500 with 11 RBI through Thursday before going 0-for-3 Friday against the Yankees ... Victor Martinez has quietly rebounded from his leg injury in Week 1 and he's now batting .365.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies are starting to come out of their hitting funk. Only a handful of teams have scored more runs in the past week than Colorado ... Clint Barmes has found his swing again and he's starting at second base now in place of the defensive-minded Jayson Nix ... The Rockies have a tough week ahead, at San Francisco (3.77 ERA at AT&T Park) and then at home against the Dodgers.

Top 5 Hitting Matchups
Team Schedule
1. Angels OAK4, BAL3
2. Yankees @CLE1, DET3, SEA3
3. Diamondbacks HOU3, NYM3
4. Red Sox TOR3, TB3
5. Marlins LAD3, SD3
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are on the road all week for six games. But they're at the Yankees (24th in home ERA) and the Twins. Detroit has improved at the plate again, scoring 55 runs through Thursday to lead the majors for Fantasy Week 4.

Florida Marlins: The Fish are at home this week, with six games against the Dodgers and Padres.

Houston Astros: The Astros will play a six-game week with three games against one of the toughest pitching staffs and better overall teams in baseball at Arizona ... Michael Bourn, who hasn't played since Monday with a strained left groin muscle, was expected back in the starting lineup Saturday against St. Louis ... Slugger Lance Berkman suffered a bit of a scare Thursday when he twisted his ankle in Cincinnati while celebrating his team's win. He was in the lineup Friday at St. Louis and went 0-for-3 with an RBI. He should be fine.

Kansas City Royals: Their pitching has been carrying this team so far, and they are on the road for six games this week. The Royals are one of the five-worst scoring teams away from their home park this season. In their favor, however, is the fact that they'll face the Rangers and Indians, who have two of the worst ERAs at home this season.

L.A. Angels: The Angels will play seven games, all at home, in Week 5 ... The offense has been quietly producing this season, scoring the fifth most runs in the majors at 120 through Friday ... Garret Anderson was given a day off against a lefty Friday at Detroit. He's in a slump, hitting just .222 over the last week with a .234 average this season. It's best to sit the 35-year-old veteran until he can get on of his typical hot streaks -- as he did toward the end of last season.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Driver Change
1. Mark Reynolds 32
2. Jeff Keppinger 41
3. Joe Crede 36
4. Nate McLouth 28
5. Jose Lopez 28
6. Jason Kendall 23
7. Cristian Guzman 18
8. Corey Patterson 17
9. Xavier Nady 15
10. Justin Upton 14

L.A. Dodgers: Surprise, surprise. Nomar Garciaparra appears headed back for the disabled list after straining his left calf Friday against Colorado. The team will recall Blake DeWitt, who started the season at third in Garciaparra's place. DeWitt had 13 hits in 51 at-bats before being sent down ... The Dodgers play just six games in Week 5 and all of those contests are on the road. Joe Torre's bunch has averaged just 3.2 runs away from Dodger Stadium this season.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers continue to hit catcher Jason Kendall in the ninth spot with the pitcher hitting No. 8 in the lineup. So far, it's worked for Kendall. He's hitting .314 with eight doubles in 20 games. Kendall hasn't hit .300 since 2004 and he's the only regular starter on the Brewers hitting over .300 ... It appears Gabe Kapler's bubble is bursting after a solid start to the season. He is hitting just 3-for-20 (.150) over his last six games.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins, along with the Braves, have just five games on this week's docket, so Head-to-Head owners might want to look at different alternatives. One nice thing, though, is that they have all five games at home in the Metrodome. Nobody is really hitting the cover off the ball right now.

N.Y. Yankees: The Bombers have seven games overall and six games at Yankee Stadium -- where they rank in the top five in RPG at home.

  1. Johnny Damon, DH -- He ranks fifth in the AL in runs scored (17) and sixth in walks (15). But lately, he's been hitting the ball hard for extra bases. He has at least one extra-base hit in four of his last five games with three doubles and two homers in that span.
  2. Derek Jeter, SS -- Alex Rodriguez picked Jeter as his favorite to win the AL MVP award and seems to have jinxed him with that prediction. Jeter is still homerless through 73 at-bats and has just four extra-base hits all season. His OBP is just .286 and is hitting just .185 through his last six games.
  3. Bobby Abreu, RF -- His swing appeared to be returning to him in Chicago after a relatively slow start to the season when he went to the opposite field often against the White Sox and the lefty even hit a homer and a double to left field. But he's not drawing walks yet, which is something he does when he's really seeing the ball well. He has just one free pass in his last nine games.
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B -- A-Rod may be a bit tentative after returning from his quadriceps injury. He said after Friday's game that he felt it still on takeoffs and will try to take it easy on grounders rather than hurt himself and miss -- as he put it -- a month.
  5. Hideki Matsui, LF -- He's been one of the more consistent Yankees from a Fantasy hitting standpoint this season with a .321 average, four homers, a .430 OBP and .526 slugging percentage.
  6. Jorge Posada, C -- He's back behind the plate and appears to be over the shoulder injury that prevented him to make throws from behind the plate. The shoulder injury was actually a blessing in disguise for his Fantasy owners, though, as he was getting everyday at-bats as the team's DH without the need to rest as most catchers do. Now, the team will look to give him one to two days off per week to keep him fresh, especially with Jose Molina hitting and handling the staff well as the backup.
  7. Robinson Cano, 2B -- It's official. He's now a notorious slow starter. But despite getting off to slow starts in each of his first four seasons in the big leagues, he's never gotten out this slow out of the gate. He's hitting just .156 with his only home run of the season coming as a pinch hitter. His .216 OBP and .222 slugging percentage would likely get any other 25-year-old benched, but that's not going to happen here. He'll have to hit his way out of it and can start by looking at more pitches. He sees the fewest amount of pitches per at-bat of any of the Yankee hitters and has been swinging at a lot of junk.
  8. Jason Giambi, 1B -- He had a great spring, which made his slow start to the season a bit troubling. But it looks like his stroke is back and Fantasy owners that have stuck with him got a big week from him in Fantasy Week 4. He's had back-to-back multi-hit games, including two monster blasts off Cleveland pitcher Paul Byrd Friday night with three home runs this week, four RBI, five walks, a double, six runs scored and even his first (and possibly last) steal of the season.
  9. Melky Cabrera, CF -- He's showing some very solid pop this season -- especially for a No. 9 hitter. He has four homers and while he may fall short of the 27-homer pace he's on, he should at least approach 20 home runs after hitting just 15 total coming into his third full major league season. He's on pace for a .275-27-70-75-20 campaign.

N.Y. Mets: Carlos Delgado's troubles have been well chronicled. So to has Carlos Beltran's .221 batting average and .403 slugging percentage. But why is David Wright getting a free pass? Going into Saturday, Wright was in an 0-for-17 slump and the New York Post notes that he has "looked ugly" doing so ... Catcher Brian Schneider was to be released from the hospital Saturday because of an infected left thumb and there is no timetable for his return. Raul Casanova and Gustavo Molina, both light-hitting stopgaps, will share time in his absence.

Oakland Athletics: The Big Hurt has returned to Oakland, but Frank Thomas is leaving a better lineup and hitter's park in Toronto. The one thing on his Fantasy owner's side is the fact that he's going to have a chip on his shoulder for the remainder of this season. He will DH and Daric Barton will play first base, which means Mike Sweeney will be losing out on at-bats.

Philadelphia Phillies: Shane Victorino (calf) should be ready to return to the team for their series opener Tuesday against San Diego. But the Phillies may opt to leave hot hitting Jayson Werth in the lineup at least until he cools off to ease Victorino back into the mix. Fantasy owners should give him another week before activating him if possible ... Ryan Howard's slump has gotten so bad that manager Charlie Manuel opted to sit Howard in back-to-back games this week. He even moved Chase Utley to first base on Friday at Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates will play all seven of their games in Week 5 on the road. Three of those games will come at pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium ... Entering the weekend, Ryan Doumit had reached base in 13 of 14 starts. He had gone 7-for-16 with a double, two homers, four RBI and six runs scored over his previous four games.

San Diego Padres: The Padres are the sixth-worst scoring team on the road (3.7 RPG), but they are also the second-worst scoring team at home (2.8) ... They get to hit at Citizens Bank Park for three games though, and then travel to Dolphin Stadium to take a crack at the overachieving Marlins pitching staff.

Worst 5 Hitting Matchups
Team Schedule
1. Rockies @SF3, LAD3
2. Pirates @NYM3, @WAS4
3. Orioles @CHW1, TB3, LAA3
4. Dodgers @FLA, @COL3
5. Twins CHW2, DET3

San Francisco Giants: The Giants signed Aaron Rowand to be their best hitter this season, and this past week he proved to be just that. He hit over .400 over the past week and the Giants have three home games before heading to hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park.

Seattle Mariners: Kenji Johjima is batting under .100 on the road this season and the Mariners have six road games this week (at CLE and NYY). Granted, the Indians and Yankees have home ERAs above 4.50, but the M's hitting should help their numbers ... None of the Mariners' hitters are really doing well over the past week.

St. Louis Cardinals: The Redbirds have six home games this week, but the Cubs are the second-highest road-scoring team in the majors, averaging 5.7 RPG through Thursday ... Skip Schumaker, usually known for his solid defensive play, is second to just Albert Pujols on the team for base hits (26). His 18 runs scored also leads the team, so consider picking the leadoff hitter up in the 76 percent of the leagues he's available in.

Tampa Bay Rays: Dioner Navarro is back from the hand lacerations he suffered in the Yankee Stadium's dugout in Week 1, and he's on fire at the plate, hitting over .500 in the past few games ... Carlos Pena (hamstring) is playing first base again, so the Rays will use Eric Hinske at designated hitter, as well as at third base and right field to rest their other players ... Gabe Gross got his first start for the Rays in right field Thursday. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, and he's not likely going to get a ton of at-bats here. Consider him an AL-only outfielder.

Texas Rangers: Michael Young went on a tear this week, hitting over .400 with four doubles and a homer ... Gerald Laird is also starting to find his batting eye. Only six catchers had more base hits than Laird this week.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Thomas' exit makes Matt Stairs a must-start hitter in AL-only formats again. Stairs is also eligible at first base and in the outfield in Fantasy play. He's batting over .300 this season and he just had a 11-game hitting streak. He's only owned in 11 percent of leagues, so consider him if your team is bit by the injury bug.

Washington Nationals: Felipe Lopez, who was nicknamed "FLOP-e Lopez" by disgruntled Nats fans, has re-emerged as their second baseman and leadoff hitter, taking over for slumping Ronnie Belliard. Lopez smacked a grand slam on Thursday and has multiple hits in four of his past eight games.

It was fun to pinch hit for David Gonos, who does a great job each week in this space with the Hitting Planner. Don't worry, though, he'll be back next week. We promise. If you have a problem with anything mentioned above, feel free to send Gonos your complaints. Here are a few that you can just clip and paste. "Dude, don't ever take another week off." ... "Are you guys hiring?" ... "Hey, tell that Gonzalez guy to go take a long walk off a short pier." Get a hold of Gonos by clicking on his Columnist page and sending him a note through the feedback form.