The Atlanta Braves clinched the NL East championship on Sunday, but it wasn't their 5-2 win over the Cubs that sealed the division – it was the Marlins' 4-2 win in Washington earlier in the day that officially locked things up for the Braves. The loss dropped the Nationals to 83-72, knocking them out of the NL East race. Just for good measure, the Braves held on to win in Chicago to end their day with an exclamation point.
The division championship is Atlanta's first since 2005. The only members of the 2013 Braves on that 2005 team were catcher Brian McCann and pitcher Tim Hudson, currently on the DL. Eddie Perez, the team's bullpen coach, was also a player on that 2005 squad. Since that division title, the Mets, Phillies, and Nationals have all raised the NL East champions flag, while the Braves have made the playoffs twice as a wild card. The division championship is also Fredi Gonzalez's first in his managerial career, which began in 2007 with the Marlins.
Miami's win over Washington also clinched a playoff spot for the Cardinals, either as the NL Central champion or one of the two NL Wild Cards. The Nationals are now really clinging to their playoff dreams with an elimination number of two behind the Pirates and Reds for the NL's two remaining playoff berths.
But going back to the Braves for a minute, the club is now looking to clinch homefield advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The team is 92-63, and has a one game edge on the Cardinals for the right to host the wild card winner in the opening round of the playoffs. The Braves are 30 games above .500 at Turner Field this season, and starting their playoff run there would be a huge boost for them.