"It's not my first rodeo, and you know, I'm kind of a dinosaur. I don't change my stripes," Johnson said. "My philosophy always has been every game is a big game. From Game 1 to Game 162, we take them all serious. And this is no different. We know who we are. We know what we do well. We just need to go out and continue doing that."
For Johnson, that means not altering the way he prepares or how he approaches in-game situations, from hooking his starters early or managing his bullpen. He didn't give a rousing pregame speech or hold a team meeting before Sunday's series opener, just as he mostly avoided speeches and meetings during the regular season.
"I'm not going to change the way I look at it," Johnson said. "I don't know how I'm going to react until I see what's going on."
The only thing that might change, and it's more a product of the playoff schedule than anything else, is that Johnson won't be afraid to work his relievers on back-to-back or three consecutive days. The Nationals will play two games in St. Louis before Tuesday's off-day, then three more, at most, back in Washington. So Johnson won't hesitate to use closer Drew Storen or setup man Tyler Clippard in every game.
"I'm not worried about overuse at this time," Johnson said. "They are all champing at the bit."