FANTASY PLAYER UPDATES & NEWS

Kevin Durant scored 39 points in their series clinching Game 6 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles Thursday night to move onto the Western Conference Finals.

Durant scored 36 of his 39 points after the first quarter to up his career average in potential series-clinching games to 31.5 points, good for the third highest average, under those circumstances, in the history of the NBA. Not too bad for a guy whom an OKC paper deemed Mr. Unreliable. The only thing unreliable about KD is whether he will get 30-plus or 40-plus points in a game.ANALYST: Michael Pichan

LHP Eric Jokisch is headed to the Triple-A disabled list with a blister on his pitching hand.

In the upper minors, Jokisch has posted numbers that would be better than average at the big league level, but presumably he would be worse than average against major league hitters. He has decent control, but he doesn't appear to have the ability to generate swings and misses that is critical in the big leagues. Analysis: Brett Talley

Jose Abreu went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI against Cleveland on Tuesday.

This was Abreu’s fourth home run of the year and his eighth extra-base hit on 14 total hits, so the power is there for the slugger. But he has only drawn two walks so far after an 8.2 percent walk rate last year. It’s too early to deem it a problem, but it would be nice if Abreu started showing a little more patience going forward. Analysis: Brett Talley

Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI against the White Sox on Tuesday.

The two hits took Brantley’s batting average from .208 to .250. Brantley is off to a slow start, but this is a great example of how quickly things can turn around at this point in the season. Continue to ride it out with Brantley as the counting stats will come. Analysis: Brett Talley

Ryan Raburn went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI as a pinch-hitter against the White Sox on Tuesday.

Raburn pinch-hit for the left-handed David Murphy in the sixth inning. Raburn is hitting better than .300 against left-handed pitching so far this season and is potentially a cheap option in daily leagues when he starts against a left-handed starter. Analysis: Brett Talley

David Murphy went 1-for-2 with a home run against the White Sox on Tuesday.

Murphy is seeing regular work in a pinch-hitting role, but he’s not seeing many starts. And when he does start, he’ll often be pinch-hit for late in the game, which was the case today. Outside of deep leagues where anyone getting plate appearances has value, Murphy doesn’t warrant much fantasy consideration. Analysis: Brett Talley

Carlos Santana went 1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and a steal against the White Sox on Tuesday.

So far Santana is picking up where he left off last year with a terribly low BABIP that’s killing his batting average. Thankfully he continues to draw a ton of walks, so he’s still a great guy to own in OBP leagues. His luck on balls in play has to improve, even if it doesn’t bounce all the way back to around league average. Analysis: Brett Talley

Cameron Maybin went 1-for-5 with a solo home run in Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to the Mets.

Maybin is seeing plenty of time in center field for the Braves right now, as he is a strong defensive player with exceptional range. At the plate, he has been anything but consistent, going just 4-for-28 over the last eight games. However, Maybin has displayed an unexpected power stroke, as three of those hits have left the yard. With enough at-bats, the fleet-footed 28 year old could have a shot at 15/15 production with regards to homers and steals.  Analysis: Nate Miller

Carlos Carrasco allowed one run and four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in five innings against the White Sox on Tuesday.

This was a nice return for Carrasco after leaving his last start early after being hit by a comebacker. Carrasco was remarkably efficient in his five innings as he only threw 60 pitches despite racking up eight strikeouts. There doesn’t appear to be any troublesome reason that Carrasco was pulled after just 60 pitches. Presumably Terry Francona was just being cautious with Carrasco. Carrasco is scheduled to start again on Monday against Kansas City, and fantasy owners should have no hesitation about using him. Analysis: Brett Talley

Hector Noesi allowed four runs and four hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings against the Indians on Tuesday.

Noesi has never had much success as a starter and nothing in his underlying numbers has ever given any indication that he was poised for success. He’s got 11 strikeouts through two starts, which is encouraging, but he also has seven walks, which is not encouraging. Noesi just can’t be trusted. He’s scheduled to go again on Sunday against Kansas City. Analysis: Brett Talley

Trevor Cahill lasted four-plus frames in Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to the Mets, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk while recording just one strikeout.

Cahill cruised through the first four innings of Tuesdays game, inducing plenty of ground balls while consistently locating his pitches down in the strike zone. However, the wheels completely came off in the bottom of the fifth, as Cahills control and the Braves defense abandoned him at the same time. All-in-all, his second start of 2015 was much improved over the first, but Cahill still merits little fantasy consideration outside of deeper N.L. only leagues. His next outing is scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Analysis: Nate Miller

Curtis Granderson went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI in Tuesday’s 7-1 rout of the Braves.

Heading into this past Sunday, Granderson had limped out to a 5-for-38 start over his first 12 games of the season. However, the veteran outfielder is beginning to show life at the plate, going 4-for-8 with a walk during the past two contests.  Analysis: Nate Miller

Jon Niese worked 6 2/3 strong innings in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over the Braves, allowing one earned run on four hits and four walks while striking out five.

Niese continues his promising start to the 2015 season, as the 28-year-old lefty has now given up just three earned runs across 18 innings while posting a 2-0 mark over three starts. He is currently sporting a lofty 1.56 WHIP, but has been able to make his pitches with runners aboard and induce weak contact in order to keep the opposition off the scoreboard. Nieses next start will be Sunday night in Yankee Stadium. Analysis: Nate Miller

Matt Holliday went 4-for-4 with one walk and one RBI against the Nationals on Tuesday.

Holliday raised his already high batting average to an astounding .425. Fantasy owners have come to expect similar numbers year in and year out from Mr. Consistency, also known as Matt Holliday. Owners should enjoy the production while he is hot, but he is still searching for his first home run of the 2015 campaign. Analysis: Colby Conway

Lance Lynn allowed one earned run on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Tuesday.

Other than the four walks, Lynn pitched really well in this game. He struck out batters at a nice clip and kept the Nationals off the board for the most part. His ERA is currently sitting at a dazzling 1.56, but his owners would like to see him get deeper into the ball game. He needed 112 pitches to get 19 outs, throwing 67 of them (59.8%) for strikes. His next start will come on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Analysis: Colby Conway

Yunel Escobar went 1-for-5 with a walk-off home run against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Escobar should enjoy his playing time now, because he is in danger of losing at least some time when Anthony Rendon returns. He has a three-game hit streak going, in which he has recorded one hit in each of those games. Also, he has scored one run in each of the past four games. Analysis: Colby Conway

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