With temperatures going well into triple digits, the Atlanta Braves were able to cool off of a hot Washington Nationals team by taking the second game of their series on June 30 by the score of 7-5. Mike Minor picked up his fourth win of the year for the Braves, while Craig Kimbrel converted for his 23rd save.
With Stephen Strasburg leaving the June 30 game early due to dehydration Mike Minor looked fine for the Braves, going five innings while giving up four runs on five hits to go along with two strikeouts on the day. It is now the third straight start in a row that he has given up at least four runs, and his command continues to be inconsistent as well, giving up five walks in the game against the Nationals. Similar to the Baltimore Orioles, the Braves need to find some consistency in the back end of their starting rotation, and I don't think Mike Minor is one of the answers they are looking for right now.
The player of the game offensively for the Braves was Andrelton Simmons, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI. For a prospect that was highly touted due to his defense, it has certainly been a welcoming surprise to see Simmons hitting well for Atlanta. His average is now .333 on the year after the game against the Nationals, to go along with three home runs and 14 RBIs as well. Now, if the Braves can just get everyone going at the same time in the lineup as opposed to some going hot and some going cold, they could really put a good win streak together regardless of how the starting pitching is going.
The Braves will look to take the rubber match of the series against the Nationals on July 1 as Tim Hudson takes the mound against Gio Gonzalez. Hudson is coming off of a great start against the Arizona Diamondbacks and I would expect him to pitch well in this game, while Gonzalez pitched poorly in his last start against the Colorado Rockies and will look to rebound for Washington.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan.