WASHINGTON — As Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and the rest of the Chicago Cubs begin their bid for the franchise’s first World Series championship in, um, one year – not quite the same panache to it as “more than a century,” eh? – they’ll take on Bryce Harper’s Washington Nationals, a club with a brief history of postseason failures.

The “been there, done that,” as Cubs Manager Joe Maddon put it before his team’s workout Thursday at Nationals Park, can matter.

“Coming into this postseason, we have a ‘knowing’ that we didn’t have last year,” Maddon said. “I would want to believe that coming into this year we have an eagerness about us without an anxiety about us. When you approach an ‘unknowing’ situation, you tend to be more anxious, as opposed to eager or excited about being in that moment, because: ‘Hey, I kinda like this. We’ve done this before. I know that we can.’ ”

What the Cubs got done last season by coming back to edge the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic is, of course, the sort of thing the Nationals would love to accomplish.

Yet when their best-of-five NL division series opens Friday night, with Stephen Strasburg starting for Washington against Kyle Hendricks, the Nationals will be seeking to advance past a round for the first time since moving from Montreal in 2005.

Does that difference in recent postseason success play a role?

“A little bit. Having been through it before, having played all the way through a Game 7 in the World Series, I think that does count for something,” said Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, acquired in July as part of a bullpen makeover.

But, he added, “There’s a lot of guys in here with a lot of playoff experience, a lot of guys that have won some World Series and won some rings. We do have enough experience that neither one of those teams is going to get caught off-guard by the emotions or by the energy of the situation.”

Actually, only one position player on Washington’s NLDS roster has a ring: outfielder Jayson Werth, who won a championship with the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies and whose $126 million, seven-season Nationals contract is about to expire.

With him, Washington has won four NL East titles in the past six seasons, but all they have to show for it are NLDS exits in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

“Of all the years I’ve been here,” Werth said, “this is the year we have the best chance, we’re in the best shape, to keep playing and play as long as we can. … I love our chances.”

While the Cubs had to – and did – finish strong, going an NL-best 49-25 after the All-Star break to overtake the Milwaukee Brewers and win the NL Central, the Nationals ran away from a mediocre division they clinched nearly a month ago and won by 20 games.

“There’s pros and cons to both. I think we got a chance to rest a little bit, and they had to, I guess, go full throttle through the majority of the year. But it also hurts us a little bit,” Washington shortstop Trea Turner said. “We probably took our foot off the gas for a little and relaxed, which is not always a good thing.”

DIAMONDBACKS: Ariel Prieto, an extra coach who also serves as an interpreter for the team, said it was a mistake for him to wear an Apple Watch in the dugout during the NL wild-card game against Colorado.

Prieto said he didn’t use the watch for any illicit purpose and it was on “airplane mode” during the game, a setting that shuts off any of the watch’s communication abilities.

Last month the Boston Red Sox were fined by Major League Baseball for using an Apple Watch to relay signs to hitters.

Prieto said he knows having the phone during the game violated MLB’s rules.

He said he apologized to Manager Torey Lovullo and volunteered to turn the phone over to MLB officials.

BRAVES: Atlanta exercised its option on Manager Brian Snitker for the 2018 season, providing some stability to an organization looking for a new general manager.

The decision came three days after General Manager John Coppolella was forced to resign when an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed serious rules violations in the international player market. Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to the GM, also resigned.

Snitker was named interim manager on May 16, 2016 and was named to the full-time job following the 2016 season.

Snitker, who turns 62 on Oct. 17, has been with the organization since being hired as a roving instructor by Hank Aaron in 1981. He said he hopes to continue as manager “for the foreseeable future.”

RAYS: Jim Hickey’s 11-season run as pitching coach is over.

Triple-A Durham pitching coach Kyle Snyder was promoted to replace Hickey, who had been with the Rays since 2007.

Also, third-base coach Charlie Montoyo will take over as bench coach for Tom Foley, who is moving into a different position.