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Ladies and gentleman, we’re officially in the second half of the 2016 MLB season.

 It’s time for teams that are making a serious push for the playoffs to buckle down and start winning against those dreaded division rivals.

 With that in mind, Fantasy teams are doing the same by stocking up on  two-start pitchers for a better chance at winning out in the week in their pitching categories.

 The pressure has been applied for those threatening and those that are on the fence.

 With the countdown slowly ticking down to playoff time, let’s get serious and take a look at the Week 16 pitching planner.

Week 16 Pitching Planner July 18-24

Five to start

Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals (vs. SD, vs. LAD)

Carlos Martinez has been a very reliable pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals just about all season minus a string of a few outings earlier in the year.

An extremely tasty outing against the San Diego Padres comes first where CarMart will be able to add to his strikeout total. The Los Angeles Dodgers come to town in his next visit where their all-or-nothing offense will struggle with Martinez’s arsenal. Martinez has a very good chance to come out with two wins this week.

Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox (vs. SF, vs. MIN)

Rick Porcello has been a pleasant surprise in the first half of 2016 for Boston and their so-so pitching staff.

He has an interesting matchup against one of the most patient hitting lineups in the San Francisco Giants, but the big bats of the Red Sox could easily outhit San Fran. Minnesota comes to Beantown with their fwailing bats, which will make for a very solid matchup for Porcello.

Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies (vs. MIN, @ PIT)

Vince Velasquez looks to be the big piece the Phillies got in their deal when they dealt their 2015 closer, Ken Giles, to the Houston Astros.

Velasquez has a swing happy Minnesota Twins team coming to town to start the week which will benefit Velasquez and his power arm. He’ll be heading to Pittsburgh in his next start against a Pirates team who seems to somehow forgotten how to hit a baseball this year. Two wins should be in reach for Velasquez even though he pitches for the weak hitting Phillies.

Mike Leake, St. Louis Cardinals (vs. SD, vs. LAD)

Mike Leake has been solid for the St. Louis Cardinals after signing a lucrative contract with them in the offseason.

Fortunately enough for Leake, he’ll be facing a San Diego Padres team who is looking to strip anything worth a damn for their future (yes, again). Leake and the Redbirds faceoff against the Dodgers at home who have been a mess for most of 2016 offensively and shouldn’t come as much of an obstacle for the righty.

Tyler Anderson, Colorado Rockies (vs. TB, vs. ATL)

Tyler Anderson has looked pretty good so far pitching for the Colorado Rockies.

Week 16 shouldn’t be much of a hurdle for Anderson as he faces down a lowly Tampa Bay offense as well as an Atlanta Braves team that makes the Ray’s O look like Murderer’s Row. Both games are being played at the launching pad that is Coors Field but so far that hasn’t stopped Anderson who is pitching as well as he has.

Five to sit

Tommy Milone, Minnesota Twins (@ DET, @ BOS)

If you’re this hard up for pitching, your staff must be hurting bad and any thoughts of playing Tommy Milone – even though he won two starts in a row – he’s a bad pitcher on a bad team facing two very good offenses.

If you’re a Tommy Milone fan, I apologize, but the truth is the truth.

Drew Smyly, Tampa Bay Rays (@ COL, @OAK)

Drew Smyly is waiver wire material at this point in the season.

When healthy he’s good and he played that role at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately he has crashed down to earth in a  big ball of flames. His matchups in Week 16 aren’t any better as he goes into Coors Field and then visits a homer-friendly A’s team in Oakland.

 Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Dodgers (@ WAS, @ STL)

Scott Kazmir just doesn’t look like the same pitcher that revived his career a few years ago.

Kazmir has struggled both on the field and with injuries this year. Week 16 will prove to be punishment for Kazmir as he goes into Washington against the first place NL East Nats and then will head to St. Louis to face one of the best offense in the majors. I wouldn’t waste my time with a pitcher who lasted three innings against the Padres during his last outing.

Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers (@ PIT, vs. CHC)

Chase Anderson’s early season luck seems to have run out.

He and the lowly Brewers O will head into Pittsburgh to face a slightly better Pirates offense and then face the best team in baseball at home against the Chicago Cubs. Do yourself a favor and drop any Milwaukee Brewers pitcher you may have on your team if you want to compete for a playoff spot because the offense will not be there.

A.J. Griffin, Texas Rangers (@ LAA, @KC)

A.J. Griffin has looked like a new pitcher, but a storm is coming in the name of Hurricane BABIP.

Griffin is currently sitting on one of the highest BABIPs in baseball and Week 16 may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. He and the Rangers head to Anaheim to face a streaking Angels offense  as well as a Kansas City team who is looking to defend their 2015 Championship. Don’t be fooled, Griffin will come back to earth and fast.

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