The Mariners trade for Russell Branyan is a valuable lesson for all fantasy owners: when you are out of contention, don’t start trading your future for the present, no matter who it is. If you are out of the hunt, realize that and start planning for next year. The only exception to this rule is if they already have another deal worked out, like sending Branyan in a trade with Cliff Lee to another team for a much better package of minor leaguers.

Interleague play is over so all players are back to their expected roles. 12 NL teams and three AL teams play seven games while the Boston Red Sox only play five games this week.

Now, here are the projected two-start pitchers for this week. For those of you in leagues who require you to set your lineup at the beginning of the week, these are guys you should strongly consider:

American League
BAL Brian Matusz
BOS none
CWS Mark Buehrle
CLE Jake Westbrook , Fausto Carmona
DET Jeremy Bonderman
KC Anthony Lerew
LAA Joel Pineiro
MIN Francisco Liriano , Nick Blackburn
NYY Phil Hughes
OAK Dallas Braden
SEA Cliff Lee
TB James Shields
TEX Scott Feldman
TOR Ricky Romero , Brandon Morrow
National League
ARI Dan Haren
ATL Tim Hudson
CHC Randy Wells , Ted Lilly
CIN Johnny Cueto , Mike Leake
COL Ubaldo Jimenez , Jason Hammel
FLA Ricky Nolasco
HOU Bud Norris , Brett Myers
LAD Chad Billingsley
MIL Manny Parra , Yovani Gallardo
NYM R.A. Dickey , Hasanori Takahashi
PHI Kyle Kendrick , Joe Blanton
PIT Paul Maholm , Jeff Karstens
SD Kevin Correia , Wade LeBlanc
SF Barry Zito , Matt Cain
STL Chris Carpenter , Adam Wainwright
WAS Stephen Strasburg , J.D. Martin

Rick’s Picks

Five best bets for double-start pitchers this week

1. and 2. Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter get two teams that are considering when to start their fire sales (vs. ARZ, vs. MIL). The two best pitchers in the National League don’t need this much help from their opponents, but it sure helps.

3. Tim Hudson has found his way back after Tommy John surgery and is pitching very well. Two mediocre opponents at home (vs. WAS, vs. FLA) is a good recipe for success this week.

4. Stephen Strasburg is pitching great, but gets two very tough opponents (at ATL, vs. NYM). Don’t expect him to go away empty handed, but temper your expectations a bit.

5. Barry Zito has found the fountain of youth again and is finally somewhat earning his ridiculous salary. Though he gets two tough division opponents (vs. LAD, at COL), he should do just fine.

Rick Milleman is the head fantasy baseball contributor at . Check his annual player projections included in the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy to help draft your championship team.

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