After their chances at an NL Central title took a hit on Tuesday night, the Cincinnati Reds will move ace Mat Latos up to pitch the finale of a three-game series with the New York Mets.
Latos gets the call for Wednesday's closer having last pitched on Friday versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. He did not factor into a 6-5 win, giving up four runs over six innings.
The righty fell to 0-1 with a 5.49 earned run average over his last three outings, but is still a solid 14-6 with a 3.23 ERA on the season. Latos' 14 victories tie his career high set in 2010 with San Diego and matched last year with the Reds over 33 starts.
In moving Latos up, manager Dusty Baker would be able to throw the 25-year-old in a possible tiebreaker for the division title on Monday or keep him in line to start the wild card playoff game the following day.
Latos is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six career meetings with the Mets, who dealt the Reds a damaging 4-2 defeat last night. With four contests left to play, Cincinnati fell three games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central and a game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first wild card spot.
The Reds will host the Pirates for three games beginning on Friday to close the regular season. They had won six of seven prior to Tuesday's loss, but starter Mike Leake gave up all four Mets' runs and eight of their 10 hits while recording just five outs.
"I wasn't making pitches and they were making me pay," said Leake, who matched the shortest start of his career and had a 21 1/3-inning scoreless streak halted in the second frame.
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer for the Mets and Jonathan Niese gave up just a pair of runs over seven innings.
"When my shoulder is healthy, for the most part I think I can throw the ball where I want to and minimize the mistakes," Niese said.
The Mets beat the Reds for the first time in five tries this season and go for the series victory today behind Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is 2-3 with a 5.52 ERA in six starts this season.
The 33-year-old righty had allowed 15 runs in losing his first three starts with the Mets, but is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA over the last three outings. He won his second start in a row on Friday, giving up four runs over six innings versus Philadelphia. Only two of the runs were earned as Matsuzaka yielded four hits and three walks while striking out six.
He faces the Reds for the first time in his career.
The Reds have won 10 of their last 13 versus the Mets, sweeping a three-game set in New York from May 20-22.