Mat Latos and Chris Young were once teammates who were considered promising starters for the San Diego Padres.
Latos seems to be fulfilling his potential with the Cincinnati Reds while the same can’t be said for how Young is faring with the New York Mets.
These right-handers will match up for the first time Tuesday night when the NL Central-leading Reds open a three-game set with the visiting Mets.
Latos (10-3, 3.81 ERA) broke into the majors with the Padres in 2009 and was a teammate with Young (3-6, 4.87) for two seasons. While Latos was developing into a reliable major league starter over those years, Young was limited to 18 starts due to prolonged shoulder problems.
Latos is pitching well now, going 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA over his last four outings and 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last nine. He gave up one run over seven innings Wednesday and left with the lead at Milwaukee before Jonathan Broxton allowed two runs in a 3-2 loss.
He’s 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts against the Mets (55-60), limiting All-Star third baseman David Wright to two hits - one homer - in eight at-bats.
Young, meanwhile, hasn’t demonstrated that he can put his physical problems behind him with the worst ERA in New York’s rotation. He gave up a season-high seven runs over 4 1-3 innings Wednesday in a 13-0 loss to Miami.
One of Young’s better outings this year came when he yielded three runs over seven innings June 17 in a 3-1 defeat to the Reds, whom he has limited to a .215 average in three career outings. Brandon Phillips is 1 for 8 against him and Jay Bruce 1 for 6.
Bruce hit a two-run homer Sunday in a 3-0 victory over the Cubs. Manager Dusty Baker gave him the previous two days off after a 1-for-16 slump.
Cincinnati (69-46) took the final three games of the series after a five-game losing streak. The Reds continue to play without the injured Joey Votto while third baseman Scott Rolen is day-to-day after missing the last five games with a sore back.
“I think that everyone on this team understands their role and they do a really good job of picking up when they need to,” Bruce said. “Obviously, we need Joey, we need Scott, but everyone is doing a good job right now as far as taking their role, taking their responsibility and getting it done.”
New York completed a 2-4 homestand with Sunday’s 6-5 win over Atlanta. The Mets will visit Washington after this series in this trip against baseball’s top two teams.
“Six-game road trip against the best team in the Central and the best team in the East, certainly a tough task,” manager Terry Collins said. “There’s nothing like taking the day off with a win, the food tastes better on the plane.”
The Reds are 4-1 against the Mets this year, but New York has taken the last four meetings in Cincinnati.
The Mets will be happy not to see Votto, who is 8 for 18 to lead the Reds in the season series.
Cincinnati owns the best bullpen ERA in the majors at 2.66 while New York - which gave up four runs in the ninth Sunday - has been last most of the year at 4.96.