Cincinnati returns home after going 3-4 on a road trip through Milwaukee and Chicago. The Reds won the final three games of their four-game series against the Cubs, putting to rest a five-game losing streak that included getting swept by the Brewers.
The Mets, meanwhile, will be starting a six-game road trip after a disappointing homestand. They lost series to both the Marlins and Braves, and had lost six of eight games before snapping out of it Sunday with a much-needed victory over Atlanta.
Chris Young will start for the Mets, squaring off against Mat Latos. Young has faced the Reds once this season, taking the loss June 17 in New York. Young is coming off a poor start Wednesday against the Marlins, in which he gave up three home runs over 4 1/3 innings of a 13-0 loss.
Injuries have hurt the Mets in a big way this year, something manager Terry Collins pointed out before Sunday's game.
"It's all about process," Collins said. "We've got some pieces that will work. We've just got to make sure they get better.
"We knew that going in. We knew that our depth was a lot of young players at Triple-A. Obviously, [the front office] has gone out and tried to help us a little bit by getting some six-year free agents into [Triple-A] Buffalo, but we knew it at the beginning of the year. We said the first day of Spring Training, 'One thing we can't do is get hurt.' Because we thought our depth wasn't what you'd really like it to be. And when we did have injuries, it's hurt us, especially on the pitching front."
Latos and the Reds, meanwhile, are going in the opposite direction. The Reds are 22-8 since the All-Star break, the best record in the Major Leagues. As for Latos, in his last nine starts, the 24-year old has allowed 14 runs in 62 innings, dropping his ERA from 5.20 to 3.81.
Latos is 10-3 this season, but his record could be even better. The Reds bullpen has blown four saves that have cost Latos wins. Most recently, Latos lost a victory Wednesday after allowing one run in seven innings against the Brewers.
Still, Latos said he thought he had pitched well.
"I felt real good [Wednesday]," Latos said. "I was able to get into good counts, and if I did fall behind, I was able to throw a good pitch to get an out."
Mets: Two outs not a problem for hitters
The Mets have scored 21 of their last 33 runs with two outs, a streak that began Aug. 2 in a 9-1 victory over the Giants. New York leads the Major Leagues with 228 two-out runs this year.
Reliever Jon Rauch has allowed one run over his last 18 appearances, spanning 13 innings (0.69 ERA) dating back to June 28. Rauch has yielded five hits, issued two walks and notched seven strikeouts during that stretch.
Ruben Tejada has collected at least one hit in 16 of his last 17 games. He is hitting .347 (26-for-75) over these 17 games.
Reds: Return home a welcome sight
While the Reds haven't had many problems winning no matter where they play this year, Great American Ball Park has been especially kind to the National League Central leaders. The Reds are 36-20 at home this season, including 13-4 since the All-Star break.
Reds hitters especially like the friendly confines of Great American Ball Park, as their batting average is 10 points better at home. They have also scored 19 more runs there, despite playing three more road games.
Closer Aroldis Chapman's ERA vs. National League teams is 0.17 (51 2/3 innings pitched, 18 hits, two runs, one earned run, 13 walks, 99 strikeouts, no homers). The only earned run he allowed to an NL team was to the Pirates on June 7 in Cincinnati. NL opponents are hitting .104 (18-for-173) against the lefty.
Through 115 games, the Reds have used only five starting pitchers (Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Latos, Mike Leake), a modern franchise record. The 2003 Mariners, who also had Bryan Price as their pitching coach, were the last Major League team to finish a season using only five starters.
Since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003, the Mets are 18-11 in Cincinnati. They swept a four-game series on the road against the Reds last season, their first four-game sweep in Cincinnati.
In his last 16 appearances, Reds outfielder Xavier Paul is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with two doubles and three RBIs.