10/03/12 12:54 PM ET
Johnson says Nats have all the experience they need
By / MLB.com
Six players on the Nats' active roster have seen playoff action, though only two -- Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth -- are everyday players. Werth leads all Nationals with 44 playoff games played, while Mark DeRosa is second with 22. But DeRosa figures to see few postseason at-bats off the bench when Washington opens its National League Division Series this weekend, and LaRoche has played in just eight playoff games. Reliever Mike Gonzalez has also appeared in eight, and behind him, Edwin Jackson has played in seven and Chien-Ming Wang in four.
But the Nats' skipper, between 13 years as a player and 16 as a manager, believes he has all the postseason experience the Nationals will need in their first playoff series since returning to Washington.
"The beauty of it is you've played alongside each other all year long and you know what everybody's capable of doing," Johnson said. "You feed on the energy of knowing that the guy behind you's pretty good. So you don't need to have a whole lot of guys with postseason experience.
"And I've got a ton of it. It's always been the same way, whether I've had a young club or a veteran club or whatever."
"I just think that [Johnson] being himself and letting us do our thing, he has a lot of trust in his players," said Werth. "He believes in us, and if you look around the room, we all feel that. That helps guys play, that helps guys relax and be themselves. Just him being our skipper is good."
With young players like Bryce Harper at the forefront of the team, the Nationals have faced the issue of their age all season long. Indeed, Washington is the seventh-youngest team in baseball, with an average age of 27.8 years old.
But the club's six players with postseason experience have a combined 93 playoff games played, including four starts apiece between Jackson and Wang. Werth reached the World Series twice with the Phillies, and hit seven home runs in the 2009 playoffs, while Jackson also has pitched in two World Series games.
"You gain your experience by playing 162 games and winning those games, winning those series. That's how you gain your experience," Johnson said. "We treat every game as a big game, so now we have some more games, you don't prepare any different than you prepare for any of the other ones [since] April 3."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.