This is the type of all around performance that the Braves needed after scuffling the past few games, even in their earlier win to open up the series. The unfortunate part of all of this is that Tim Hudson got his ankle stepped on at first base by Eric Young Jr. in his eighth inning of work. Young hit a hard grounder to first base that Freddie Freeman bobbled, so he was forced to underhand the ball over to Hudson which led to the gruesome ankle injury. He was eventually carted off the field. To say I would be surprised if Hudson is not put on the disabled list is an understatement. Brandon Beachy started tonight for Gwinnett and will likely take Hudson's place in the rotation.
Prior to the injury, the Braves had an offensive outburst in the first five innings thanks to three home runs. I have been to a number of games at Citi Field and I do not believe I have seen a home run leave the park as quickly as Evan Gattis's second inning bomb. He just barely missed the pitch before the home run, popping it a mile high and deep into foul territory in left field, and did not miss the following offering as he deposited it into the second deck in a rather large ballpark. Uggla hit a three run bomb to left in the fifth inning which preceded Simmons's two run shot later in the inning to chase Mets starter Jeremy Heffner. It should be no surprise to anyone who follows the team that the Braves had an offensive outburst that involved a number of home runs. That has been and will be their M.O. this season.
Before this season, Simmons had just nine home runs in his entire professional career. Just about the last thing I expected this season was for Simmons to blow past double digit home runs before the end of July. His wRC+ is now up to 79 while the league average for shortstops is 84. If he is able to push his offense past league average compared to his peers while playing better defense than anyone on the planet, you have about a five win player on your hands. In my opinion, with Simmons's offense improving to the level it is currently at, he is the most valuable position player on the roster.
Hudson got his ERA under 4.00 for the first time since April in what was the best outing of his season before getting injured. This is about as bittersweet as games go, because other than the injury and a two-run double allowed by Luis Avilan to Daniel Murphy, this was about as perfect as a game could be from the Braves. While I hate to speculate, with how bad that injury looked, it is not impossible that this was the last game Tim Hudson pitched for the Braves. If that is the case, cheers to Hudson's amazing career in Atlanta. Let us hope that is not the case.