"We learned how to win at the end of the year, which I don't think the team really knew how to do at the [end of 2012]," Werth said. "We came off a year where we won 98 games, but we were not pressed. Last year, we got to the point where we were pressed and we responded really well. We played awesome the few weeks of the season."
When Werth arrived in 2011, the Nationals were still trying to put together a solid team. They were coming off a fifth-place finish in the NL East. Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond were not established, and Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister were not on the team. Three years later, the team is now considered a playoff contender.
"I would say this is to be the year that everybody kind of graduates," Werth said. "Everybody has some time underneath their belt. Everybody in here knows where they are at. As you go on in this game and you start to figure yourself out -- the whole dynamic of what's going on -- you can settle in and be yourself."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.