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Nationals’ lineup vs Rockies: Wilson Ramos back behind the plate

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Jose Lobaton started in back-to-back games with Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker explaining he hoped the time off rejuvenated Wilson Ramos.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Dusty Baker told reporters earlier this week that he didn’t necessarily think that Wilson Ramos was tired, though the Washington Nationals’ catcher’s bat had cooled off a bit in recent weeks.

Baker gave the 29-year-old backstop a day off in the series finale with the Baltimore Orioles after Ramos went 5 for 39 (.128/.190/.231) with a double and a home run in nine games on the Nationals’ recently-completed road trip and the first of two with the O’s in D.C.

“A day off would do everybody good,” Baker said when asked if he thought it would benefit Ramos. “But you don’t always get it. A day off would do me good. But guess what, I’ve got to go to work. We have to grind through this period and I’ll try to get Ramos days off.”

Ramos got another day off in Friday night’s series opener with the Colorado Rockies, with Jose Lobaton, who went 1 for 3 with a double in Thursday’s win over the Orioles, back behind the plate catching Gio Gonzalez.

Baker assured reporters before the first of three with the Rockies that Ramos was fine and he was just giving the big backstop a rest.

“He’s fine,” Baker said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo:

“Big Ramos is fine. I just wanted to give him another day. Some days one day isn’t enough to clear your head, and sometimes you need a couple days to sit and then to watch other guys. Because he’s been carrying this team, him and Murphy, for quite a while. That’s a lot of work for him, offensively and defensively.”

With Lobaton behind the plate, the Nationals won their second straight game on Friday.

Gonzalez earned his 100th career win in the process, giving up four hits, a walk and two runs in an 85-pitch effort in an 8-5 win.

“Gio kept his pitch count low, [and Lobaton] navigated him through the game,” Baker said.

“[Gonzalez] had a very, very good breaking ball and located his fastball well, especially down in the zone. That’s his key to his success. Not getting runners on base and not walking people.”

Baker told reporters after the game that he thought the time off would benefit Ramos.

“I’m hoping that these days off will get Ramos rolling again. I think we’ll see a new and improved Ramos in the next few days because he’s had some rest.

“And so, like I said, [Lobaton], he did a great job the last two days. He did a great job calling the game, and the guys are comfortable out there.”

Lobaton went 1 for 3 with a walk on Friday night. Ramos is back in the lineup this afternoon in the second of three with the Rockies.

He guided A.J. Cole to a solid start against this Orioles earlier this week and he’ll try do it again.

Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for today’s 1:05 PM EDT matchup with the Rockies:

• We talked about Gio Gonzalez’s outing, Frank Howard, Trea Turner and more on Nats Nightly after the game: