Mat Latos is looking like the ace the Cincinnati Reds thought he was when they acquired him for a steep price from San Diego this offseason. Latos is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his past three starts as Cincy has taken advantage of the NL Central.
Cincinnati at Milwaukee – Reds RHP Mat Latos (10-3, 3.94) vs. Brewers RHP Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.57): Latos was a one-man show on Friday against Pittsburgh, shutting out the Bucs for 7 1/3 innings while allowing just four hits. He added a two-run home run, his first of the season, to his stellar outing en route to his third straight victory. … Wolf was sharp in his first three innings of his last outing, but the wheels came off in a four-run fourth. Wolf’s ERA hasn’t been below 5.00 all season, and he’s won one decision in his last 16 starts. He leads the Brewers with 18 homers allowed.
Chicago Cubs at San Diego – Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37) vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01): Samardzija had a 1.91 ERA in five games in July but gave up five runs in his last start against the Dodgers. He didn’t have good command of his split-finger, which has been his out pitch, and it showed. … Padres manager Bud Black didn’t think Richard had his best stuff Friday, which is telling, given that Richard gave up just one run in seven innings. He has 13 quality starts this year, and he is among the NL leaders in innings pitched (152 2/3).
Arizona at Pittsburgh – Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy (10-8, 4.15) vs. Pirates RHP Kevin Correia (8-6, 4.49): Kennedy beat the Phillies on Friday to extend his winning streak to four consecutive starts. He wasn’t at his best, but allowed just two runs on seven hits over six innings. He struck out only one and issued two walks. … Correia ousted from the rotation two weeks ago gets to make a cameo start, in search of a seventh straight victory, no less. He has a 4-2 record at home, with an ERA (3.62) nearly two runs better than on the road (5.34).
Atlanta at Philadelphia – Braves RHP Tim Hudson (11-4, 3.45) vs. Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-9, 4.45): Hudson won his 100th game with Atlanta on Friday, throwing a season-high 116 pitches while allowing four hits and an unearned run over 7 1/3 frames vs. Houston. He has won his past five decisions and has a career record of 192-101. … Kendrick went back into the rotation after Joe Blanton was traded, but it remains uncertain how long he’ll stay there. In 14 starts this season, he has a 4.54 ERA and a .285 opponent’s batting average.
Miami at NY Mets – Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-7, 4.66) vs. Mets RHP Chris Young (3-5, 4.22): It was a forgetful second start as a Marlin for Eovaldi, who allowed six runs in two innings in Atlanta. He was lifted after 64 pitches and eight hits allowed. With the Dodgers, he lost to New York on June 30, giving up five runs. … Young is coming off his best start of the season, holding the Giants to one run over seven innings of four-hit ball last Thursday in San Francisco. The right-hander has not faced the Marlins in 15 starts since first joining the Mets last season.
Washington at Houston – Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34) vs. Astros RHP Armando Galarraga (0-1, 5.23): Gonzalez struck out 10 Marlins and walked none in eight innings Friday but was undone by a series of sixth-inning singles. In all, he gave up four runs on nine hits. The lefty beat Houston on April 17 with seven innings of two-hit ball. … Galarraga joined the Astros’ rotation July 28 and has made two starts. He struggled with his control Friday against the Braves, walking seven batters and hitting two more. He also showed the ability to escape jams, limiting the damage to four runs.
San Francisco at St. Louis – Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (9-5, 2.38) vs. Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly (2-4, 3.14): Vogelsong’s stretch of 16 consecutive outings in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer ended in his last start. But he has pitched at least six innings in all 20 of his outings. The Giants have won 13 of Vogelsong’s last 16 appearances. … Kelly wasn’t sharp in his last start, but the spunky rookie avoided damage in impressive fashion. By limiting the Brewers to three runs — despite allowing 10 hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings — Kelly earned his first win since June 22.
Colorado at LA Dodgers – Rockies LHP Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.02) vs. Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley (7-9, 3.74): After a six-game stretch when he only once yielded as many as three runs, Francis is now in a four-game stretch of giving up five or six. He had a good curve against the Giants on Saturday, but left too many balls up in the zone, lasting just 3 2/3. … Billingsley has looked rejuvenated over his last three starts after a brief stint on the disabled list because of a sore elbow. He has given up only two runs in his las 20 1/3 innings after losing his last five games before the All-Star break.