Manager Davey Johnson is not thrilled about the playoff setup in 2012 and that is why he was adamant all year long about winning the division so his team would not have its whole season riding on a one-game wild card so early in the playoffs.
"I hate it," Johnson said. "I am old school."
Of course, Johnson knows that whether it is a Game 7 or an elimination game in a series, that must-win game is eventually going to occur, but the wild card play-in game would have been an uncomfortable situation in the new format.
"Now they took 25 percent of the playoff spots away and added two more teams to play one game to see who goes," Johnson explained. "From a managing position, it lessened my spots available to me. So why would I like it? I am sure that Atlanta doesn't like it either. They would like to go back to the old way."
Further, Johnson also said he would have liked the division series to be best of seven rather than best of five. But he also understands why an additional wild card team was added for marketing and interest in that second city to make the playoffs.
One weakness many beat reporters from other cities place on the Nationals is that by never being in the postseason, they lack the experience to make it through the four weeks of trying to win 11 games. But Johnson disagrees. He said his team has played pressure-packed baseball all season to get to this point.
"My guys have been dreaming about this moment," Johnson said early this morning on "The Junkies" on 106.7 The Fan.
Later in the morning, he continued to explain why he believes his team is ready despite not having that many players on the roster who have been in a postseason series.
"You gain your experience by playing 162 games and winning most series," Johnson said. "We treat every game as a big game so now we have some more games. You don't prepare any different than any other ones (like) April 3.
"The beauty of it is you have played alongside one another all year long and you know what everybody is capable of doing. You feed on the energy of knowing the guy behind me is pretty good. So you don't need to have a whole lot of guys with postseason experience. I have a ton of it and it has always been the same way whether I had a young club or a veteran club."