Jun 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos (55) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (35-47) host the Cincinnati Reds (43-38) for a 3-game series. The Reds are in second place, 6.5 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. The Reds have won 5 in a row, and 8 of their last 9. They are one of the hottest teams in baseball coming into this series. The Padres won the series in mid-May in Cincy.
Game 1 will feature the rookie, Jesse Hahn (3-1, 2.38 ERA) against former Padre Mat Latos (1-0, 2.89 ERA). Hahn has had 3 straight solid starts, resulting in 3 straight wins. He struck out 8 in 6 innings in his last start against the Giants. Latos pitched for San Diego for 3 years, racking up 27 wins. He has only had 3 starts this year due to nagging injuries.
Game 2 has Ian Kennedy (5-9, 4.01 ERA) and San Diegan Mike Leake (6-6, 3.41 ERA). Kennedy has struggled a bit of late, allowing 4 runs in each of his last 2 starts. He is 4th in the NL in strikeouts with 111. Leake played his high school ball at Fallbrook High School. He has been one of the better pitchers in this rotation, as he has won his last 3 starts.
In the finale, Tyson Ross (6-8, 3.18 ERA) will pitch against Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto (8-5, 1.88 ERA). Ross is on pace for a 200+ strikeout season, but he has not won a start since May 31st. In Cueto’s last 2 starts, he has gone 8 innings and 8.1 innings respectively, winning both starts and striking out 11.
The Reds have some good offensive pieces. Todd Frazier leads the team with 17 HRs, which is 3rd in the NL and 46 RBI. Another Red that has had a good start is Devin Mesoraco, with a .307 average and 14 HRs in only 47 games. As a team, the Reds are the middle of the pack offensively. The Reds are right behind the Padres in pitching with a 3.52 team ERA.
The key to a series win is for the Padres, to manufacture some runs against a talented pitching staff. Manufacturing runs isn’t hitting 3 home runs. The Padres need to string together some hits, get a few bunts down, a sac fly, a double, something to create some offense. This pitching staff is good, the Padres offense will need to step up.