There's no dominant theme on a casual Sunday; let's move straight to the bullets.
• I'm perfectly fine with Atlanta's decision to jettison Yunel Escobar(notes) a few days ago; Escobar hasn't been hitting all year and he's had his share of concentration lapses, not to mention some run-ins with Bobby Cox. From the Peachtree perspective, it probably made sense to play it safe with a veteran like Alex Gonzalez(notes).
That all said, Escobar had a solid career with the bat before 2010 and the change of scenery might be coming at the right time. He went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs Sunday (here's the slam against Brian Matusz and his uncreased hat) and this came on the heels of a 2-for-5 showing Saturday. Cito Gaston is giving Escobar a cushy spot in the order, the No. 2 position. Escobar's currently trading at 46 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues but if he can even approach his 2007-2009 level of production, we're talking about someone who could legitimately be owned in all mixers.
Do an audit, make sure he's not floating around your waiver wire. Here are two neighborhood comparables I would cut to pick up Escobar: Ryan Theriot(notes) (59 percent, which is a joke) and Clint Barmes(notes) (45 percent).
• A lot of misleading things come out of saves and blown saves, at least on paper. Consider Minnesota's ninth-inning rally against Chicago on Sunday afternoon. The Twins recorded all of the runs in the inning (four in all, three unearned) on the record of an ineffective Bobby Jenks(notes), but it's poor Sergio Santos(notes) that absorbs the blown save merely because he allowed the hit that ended the game and plated the two runners he inherited. The scapegoat of the game was clearly Jenks (two walks, two sharp singles allowed), but timing slaps the red ink on Santos's record. Jenks still has just one blown save on the year.
Most of the batters had a say in the ballgame at Target Field – the teams combined for 13 runs and 32 hits (dig in, here's your box score). Gordon Beckham(notes) collected four singles for the White Sox – he went 9-for-14 in the series – but Ozzie Guillen has yet to move him out of the ninth spot in the order.
• The closers struggled by the bay Sunday afternoon, with Francisco Rodriguez blowing a ninth-inning save chance and Brian Wilson(notes) handing away the eventual winning run in the top of the 10th. K-Rod stuck around to finish the game out – throwing 47 pitches in a very messy appearance – so don't look for him to be available at Arizona on Monday. The Giants should have won the game in the bottom of the ninth, but Travis Ishikawa(notes) was called out at home plate on a close play (he looked very much safe to everyone but home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi).
Ike Davis(notes) is sorry to see AT&T Park in his rear-view mirror; he clocked two homers in Saturday's game and he had three more hits on Sunday, including a tenth-inning double that missed leaving the park by about three feet. Davis has 13 homers, 45 runs and 45 RBIs through 79 games; I'm a little surprised he's owned in just 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues. In the Year of the Pitcher, you have to take power where you can get it, amigos.
• I suppose the Sunday night game was enjoyable, that is if you pull for the Cubs or didn't have to listen to Joe Morgan. Tom Gorzelanny(notes) was a little wild at times (five walks, one to Roy Halladay(notes)) but he also struck out five and worked into the seventh inning (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER). Lou Piniella should be kicking himself for taking Gorzelanny out of the rotation in the first place; the comebacking lefty has been effective in 11 of his 13 starts this year, and one of the bad turns was directly attributable to the wind (May 14 against Pittsburgh).
Geovany Soto(notes) and Alfonso Soriano(notes) homered off an ineffective Halladay; Soto's homer was a little cheap and wind-aided, while Soriano's tater was an absolute rocket. The Phillies hit three late homers in the last two innings against Chicago's non-prominent relievers, but that's just window dressing. (Nonetheless, keep them coming, Ryan Howard(notes).)
• Vicente Padilla(notes) gave us another strong start on Sunday, shutting out the Cardinals over six quirky innings (1 H, 5 BB, 1 K). I'm not going to sweat the messy BB: K rate in this instance, given how sharp Padilla has been of late. He'll face the Mets at Chavez Ravine next weekend.
Padilla wasn't able to get a win at St. Louis, ultimately, because Jonathan Broxton(notes) couldn't hold the lead. Big John didn't get all that much help from his defense; Matt Kemp(notes) got a poor jump on the game-tying single – it looked like there might have been a play at the plate with the slow Yadier Molina(notes) running – and Andre Ethier(notes) didn't get the best read on Matt Holliday's(notes) game-winning knock to deep right field. We're not talking about errors in either instance, but plays were there to be made.
• Cincinnati rookie Travis Wood(notes) was a tough-luck loser against Colorado – Chris Iannetta's(notes) home run tripped him up, while the Reds surprisingly couldn't do anything against Aaron Cook(notes). Wood nonetheless passed the eye test for the second straight game, and he gave us a useful line in defeat (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 6 K). You'll want to give him the ball Friday at Houston.
• It was an interesting afternoon for Ryan Raburn(notes), manning center field at Cleveland. The pain came first (Jhonny Peralta(notes) thanks you), the joy came later. The Tigers were humbled by a four-game sweep in Ohio, but now they head back to Comerica Park for a week, where they have the best home record in the American League.
Jeanmar Gomez(notes) recorded the win for Cleveland in his major league debut, allowing just two unearned runs over seven innings, but don't bother with a pickup. He's headed back to the minors – he was recalled just for this spot start – and he's been mediocre in Triple-A this season (5.70 ERA, 1.55 WHIP).
Injury Blog: Andy Pettitte(notes) strained his groin in Sunday's start against the Rays and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks. Sergio Mitre(notes) is the stand-in for the meantime. … Shin-Soo Choo(notes) is going to avoid surgery and might be back with the Indians as soon as Friday. Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) (forearm) also might return this week. … Andrew McCutchen(notes) (shoulder) is questionable for Monday's series opener with Milwaukee. … Mat Latos(notes) (oblique) had a bullpen session on Sunday and is on schedule to return next weekend. … Scott Kazmir(notes) (shoulder) landed on the DL, over the protest of American League hitters. … Corey Patterson(notes) has a bruised heel and is out indefinitely. … Russell Martin(notes) (thumb) might be able to go Monday, if you're desperate for a catcher. … Manny Ramirez(notes) (calf) is expected to sit Monday, so get your caddy ready. … Barring a setback, Josh Beckett(notes) (back) will pitch against Seattle on Friday. … Roy Oswalt(notes) (ankle) was forced out of Sunday's turn early but might not have to miss a start. … Luis Castillo(notes) (foot) will be back with the Mets on Monday. … Chris Coghlan(notes) needs a few days to rest a sore back. … A bruised hand forced Carlos Quentin(notes) to leave Sunday's game early. … Albert Pujols(notes) (ankle) didn't start Sunday but did pinch hit in the eighth inning.
Speed Round: Manny Parra(notes) has a sneaky way of showing up on sleeper lists now and again, but Sunday's 10-run shellacking at Atlanta should put a stop to it for a while. Parra now has a 5.52 ERA and 1.75 WHIP for the year, and this guy throws more wild pitches than Nuke LaLoosh. … No save situation for the Diamondbacks on Sunday – hard to get that handshake when you almost never win – but we should mention that Juan Gutierrez(notes) got another inning of work and allowed another homer, his 12th surrendered this year (the Chris Denorfia(notes) Fan Club thanks you). I don't know the right answer to this team's save chase, but it sure doesn't look like Gutierrez. Chad Qualls(notes) worked a scoreless inning Saturday in a non-pressure situation, his first appearance since his blown save the previous Sunday. Anyone got a cell number on Byung-Hyun Kim? … If you're in the market for a holds guy, Clay Hensley(notes) is healthy again and doing the job. He's allowed just one run over his last seven appearances, picking up six holds and seven strikeouts along the way. … Vin Mazzaro(notes) is trying to get our attention in Oakland, stringing together five straight impressive turns (35 IP, 27 H, 8 R, 12 BB, 22 K, 1 HR). He's got a tidy ERA on the road but a high WHIP there (perhaps lucky), but the story flips in Oakland (low WHIP, high ERA). If you want to kick the tires here, give a look to The Vin Man's next turn, Friday at home against the White Sox.