Congratulations to the Washington Nationals, who’ve clinched their second NL East crown in three years.
Tanner Roark was dominant over seven scoreless innings and Ian Desmond slugged his 23rd home run of the season as the Nats beat the Braves 3-0 on Tuesday night in Atlanta before covering the visitors clubhouse at Turner Field with beer and champagne.
Washington looked far different from this current juggernaut out of the gate in 2014, playing .500 ball (27-27) through the first two months. But everything has clicked in the second half and the Nats currently hold the top seed in the National League playoff tree with 12 games left in the regular season. It was an impressive turnaround under first-year manager Matt Williams.
The Nationals’ pitching staff ranks second in the major leagues with a combined 3.06 ERA and the offense has generated the second-most runs in the National League. This could really be a beast of a postseason team.
We can probably officially say goodnight to the Braves, who dropped below .500 (75-76) with Tuesday’s loss. They’re now five games back of the second National League Wild Card spot with 11 games to play.