National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, July 18th (All times Eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (43-47) at Cincinnati Reds (51-39), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Ian Kennedy (6-8, 4.55) Cincinnati - Mat Latos (7-2, 4.10)
(Sports Network) - One of the National League's best pitchers of 2012 faces one of the best from 2011 tonight, when the Cincinnati Reds host the Arizona Diamondbacks in game three of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds, who lead the NL Central by a game over Pittsburgh, send offseason acquisition Mat Latos to the mound with a chance to remain unbeaten since April 18.
Traded from the San Diego Padres for former All-Star Edinson Volquez, Latos began his tenure in Cincinnati with two losses and an 8.22 earned run average in his initial three starts, but has since won seven straight decisions while halving the ERA to 4.10.
He tossed consecutive complete games in wins over Milwaukee and San Francisco on June 25 and 30, and has since gotten no-decisions against San Diego and St. Louis while allowing two runs in 12 innings.
The Reds, who lost Latos' first three starts, are 11-4 with him on the mound since.
He's 1-0 in four career meetings with the Diamondbacks, who start right-hander Ian Kennedy, who was fourth in Cy Young Award voting last season after winning 21 of 25 decisions in 33 starts.
The native Californian had just 10 major-league wins before his breakout season, in which he tossed a career-high 222 innings, held batters to a .227 average and posted a 2.88 ERA.
He's struggled to regain the magic in 2012, however, and dropped his eighth decision of the season in his lone appearance since the All-Star break, when he gave up six runs on seven hits in five innings of an 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Kennedy's last win came June 29 at Milwaukee and he's not won two straight starts since May 30 and June 5 against San Francisco and Colorado.
The 27-year-old has won both career starts against Cincinnati.
On Tuesday, Ryan Ludwick clubbed a three-run homer in the third inning and Johnny Cueto remained unbeaten against the Diamondbacks as the Reds earned a 4-0 win.
Cueto (11-5) gave up four hits, walked four and had three strikeouts in six innings. The right-hander moved to 4-0 in five career starts versus Arizona. He's also 6-1 in eight games at Great American Ball Park this year.
"I think we expect that out of him every night now," Ludwick said. "He's really turned into quite the pitcher. I think you have to put him into Cy Young type talk. He's done a great job."
Cueto lowered his ERA to 2.28, close to the top in the National League.
The Reds, who had just five hits, won for the seventh time in eight games.
Trevor Bauer (1-2) surrendered only a hit, but walked five over three innings for the Diamondbacks, who consistently didn't come up with the clutch hit. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
Justin Upton and Willie Bloomquist both had two hits in Arizona's fourth defeat in five games.
Arizona won two of three from the Reds in an April series in Phoenix, then won another two of three the following week in Cincinnati. The Reds won the 2011 season series, 4-2.
07/18 10:30:50 ET