ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright was a glorified spectator last fall, cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals from the bench as they rose from wild card to World Series champions.
It's a lot more fun being part of the action.
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Every fan in in long-suffering Washington, D.C., anticipating the first postseason appearance for the nation's capital since 1933, has to feel that way, too.
Wainwright, a 14-game winner in his first year back from elbow reconstruction, successfully fought against restricting his innings and starts Sunday in the NL division series opener. The Nationals, who led the league with 97 wins despite sitting down Stephen Strasburg in early September after 159 1-3 innings, will go with 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez.
The Nationals have one of the youngest rosters in the majors and won 98 games as they overcame injuries to Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Ian Desmond. Davey Johnson is a seasoned hand, though, joining Billy Martin as the lone managers to win division titles with four franchises.