When manager Dusty Baker and the rest of the Washington Nationals ventured out to Colorado last year to grace Denver with their presence, the Rockies were a much different team than they are today.

As has been the case for most of the franchise’s existence, the Rockies struggled in the bullpen and rode the injury train fairly consistently. This year, with a near-healthy pitching staff and the strength of their offense strutting its stuff in full force, the Nationals are taking on a new animal this week in their four-game series in Denver.

And although the Nationals (13-6) will only play the Rockies twice this year, Baker knows that no game at the hitter-friendly Coors Field is ever easy, but this year’s League-leading 14-6 team’s insurmountable talent makes it that much harder.

“They’re different,” Baker said. “It’s a little different for us because we don’t play them but twice this year. You’d have to really ask the Giants or the Dodgers, or somebody in their division. They’re a lot different in their bullpen, and the preparation is a lot different because you don’t really know much about the personnel.”

After being called up from the minor just days ago to replace Rockies’ injured ace Jon Gray, Baker and the Nats will face a pitcher they’ve never seen before in German Márquez, meaning that they have their work cut out for them that much more.

“We haven’t seen this guy [German] Márquez, we hadn’t seen [Carlos] Estevez, we haven’t seen [Scott] Oberg,” Baker said. “The most advantage goes to the pitcher when we haven’t seen him. But that’s okay, we’ll figure him out pretty soon.”