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Nationals' Friday night lineup: Wilson Ramos crushes Mets' pitching

Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos has crushed New York Mets' pitching early in his major league career. Can the 26-year-old slugger get things going at the plate against the Nats' NL East rivals from NY? He's in the cleanup spot tonight...

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Patrick Smith

Wilson Ramos crushes New York Mets' pitching. In his five major league seasons, the Washington Nationals' 26-year-old catcher is 37 for 97 career vs the Mets (.381/.408/.701) with 10 doubles and seven home runs in 29 games and 103 plate appearances against the Nats' NL East rivals from NY.

Against 27-year-old Mets' lefty Jon Niese, tonight's starter, Ramos is 2 for 6 in their respective careers.

Ramos is hitting fourth tonight and catching Tanner Roark in the first game of three in D.C.:

Nats' skipper Matt Williams told MASN's Dan Kolko last weekend in Oakland that like Davey Johnson before him, he's convinced Ramos has the talent to become one of best in the game if he can just stay healthy, which has proven difficult for the former Minnesota Twins' prospect thus far in his career.

"I think Wilson's timing isn't quite there yet. Any time you take that kind of time off with a hand injury it takes some time to get back." - Nats' skipper Matt Williams on Wilson Ramos

"I think he can be one of the best in the game," Williams said. "He calls a great game. He throws well. Certainly hits for average and for power. He knows how to drive runs in. So, again, it's always been a question of his health and whether he can stay healthy and stay on the field. He's had a couple of freak things too. He had the knee and he's had the hand this year. Those things you can't prevent. So, I think he worked hard in his rehab and during the time he was off to make sure that he's ready to go now and we're glad to have him. He's a middle-of-the-order hitter and can drive runs in for our team and we certainly need that."

Williams also talked to MLB Network Radio Power Alley hosts Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette about how important it was for the Nationals to have their no.1 catcher back in the lineup and, more importantly, behind the plate.

"He knows all of our pitchers so well," Williams said. "The other guys that are here that are playing, Sandy Leon and Jose Lobaton, don't have that experience with these guys. First and foremost, I think it's behind the plate, how we're going about it from a pitching perspective. I think Wilson's timing isn't quite there yet. Any time you take that kind of time off with a hand injury it takes some time to get back."

Leon, 25, was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse this afternoon, so it's back to Lobaton and Ramos on the major league roster.

Will a series with the Mets be just what Ramos needs to get the bat going?

Ramos broke the hamate bone in his left hand on Opening Day against the Mets in Citi Field. Since returning from the DL, the Nats' catcher is 3 for 16 with a double, three walks and two Ks.