The Padres will be countering one of their greatest pitching exports with their latest young arm to start the three-game set against the Reds on Monday.
Reds right-hander Mat Latos will be making his third career start against his former organization since being traded in a four-player deal in the winter of 2011.
It will be Latos' fourth start of the season after his long road back from elbow and knee surgeries. Of course, that's as many starts as his Padres counterpart, right-hander Jesse Hahn, has made in his entire Major League career.
Since his June 3 debut, Hahn has registered a 2.38 ERA with six earned runs and eight walks in 22 2/3 innings.
Featuring a devastating 12-to-6 curveball, Hahn's 27 strikeouts are the second-most through the first four starts of a Major League career in Padres history. For comparison's sake, Latos struck out 16 in his first four starts for San Diego.
"That's a good old-fashioned curveball, 12-and-6," said Padres manager Bud Black of Hahn. "You don't see a lot of those these days. But Jesse's got a good feel for it."
In his previous two starts against the Padres, Latos is winless but owns a 1.28 ERA with 14 strikeouts across 13 innings.
Reds: Santiago allows team to succeed with short bench
When the late innings roll around, nobody likes a short bench. But in the Reds' case, why fix it if it isn't broken?
Cincinnati has been operating with a four-man bench since the organization felt it required some bolstered bullpen depth as of June 21. Since bringing aboard an eighth reliever on that date, the Reds have gone 8-1.
Manager Bryan Price has made it work by being more cautious. And Ramon Santiago's versatility certainly doesn't hurt.
"It's more of an awareness, and awareness of not wanting to burn a player early in the game that could come back and bite you," Price said. "That's where Ramon Santiago's role is so important. ... He can play any of the infield positions and play left field. He hits from both sides of the plate."
In his first year with Cincinnati, Santiago is batting .216 (11-for-51) with six runs scored. While Price is quick to praise Santiago, he also realizes his abilities leave him as more of a safety net in the Reds' current situation.
"Unfortunately sometimes his versatility hurts my desire to want to use him in case we get into one of those situations especially with a short bench," Price said.
For that reason, Price knows the Reds can only keep up their current build for so long.
"We went through that period where our bullpen was so beat up that we had to have the extra guy," Price said. "Our good fortune is we haven't had the opposite happen where we felt short on the bench and vulnerable. That day will come. We all know that. Right now we're playing with that luxury of an eighth reliever."
Padres: Cabrera gets day off
Everth Cabrera was given a rare break from the starting lineup Sunday.
Cabrera has played in all but two of San Diego's games this season. He made the National League All-Star team as the Padres' lone representative last season, but seems unlikely to repeat in 2014. His slash line is .218/.255/.291 and despite maintaining above-average defense (0.5 DWAR) has a -0.1 OWAR.
"He's been in a little bit of a slump the last 10 games or so," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We'll get him off his feet at least to start the game."
Cabrera is 6-for-34 (.176) with two walks, seven strikeouts and no extra-base hits over his past 10 games. His batting average has decreased with each month this season -- after posting a solid .284 average in March/April, he hit .216 in May and is batting just .135 in June.
• The Padres have scored more than two runs only twice over their last eight contests.
• Entering the month batting .251, Billy Hamilton has hit .330 with 18 runs, 18 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in the month of June.
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.