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Mat Latos: Cincinnati Reds SP May Benefit from Sunday's Home Plate Umpire

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 29: Mat Latos #55 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park on April 29, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds came from behind to win 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Jeff GrantContributor IMay 6, 2012

The Cincinnati Reds (13-13) and Pittsburgh Pirates (12-15) will close out a three-game National League Central series on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Reds as -127 road favorites, while the total is holding steady at its opening number of eight.

Pittsburgh will look to win two games in a row for just the third time this year, picking up a 3-2 win on Saturday that moved its home record to 6-5 on the season. The Pirates' pitching staff came into that affair with a 2.27 home ERA.

Charlie Morton (1-2, 4.22 ERA) looks to bounce back from his worst outing of the year, allowing six runs (five earned) and eight hits over 4.1 innings of work in a 10-7 road loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

He has served up a home run in each of his last two starts.

The right-hander has been solid in two home starts, posting an even 1-1 mark and 1.50 ERA, as he's allowed three earned runs or less in seven straight starts at PNC Park dating back to last year.

Morton will be facing the Reds for the 11th time in his career, coming in with a 4-4 record and 3.79 ERA, including a 3-0 mark and 0.93 ERA in four outings a year ago. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has just five hits in 21 at-bats (.238) against him.

The Pirates are 1-5 in Morton's last six starts as a home underdog of +110 to +150, while the "under" has cashed in five straight in that situation.

Cincinnati still has an opportunity of winning this series and will look to win its sixth straight Sunday game in the process dating back to last year. The Reds' bullpen has been tremendous this season, coming into yesterday's game leading the NL with a 2.54 ERA.

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 25:  Charlie Morton #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the second game of a doubleheader on April 25, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Mat Latos (1-2, 5.97 ERA) has led the squad to victory in his last two starts, including a 6-5 home win over the Houston Astros in a no-decision effort last time out. He allowed five runs and 10 hits over 6.1 innings in that effort.

The right-hander is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in two road outings this year, as opposing hitters are batting .318 against him. Those numbers could improve due to his 2-0 record and 2.77 ERA when facing the Pirates on the road in two career starts.

Latos may also benefit from umpire Jim Wolf being behind the plate. He's allowed just four earned runs over 20 innings of work, with the "under" cashing in all three games.

Weather forecasts suggest sunny skies and game-time temperatures in the mid-70s, with a slight 5-10 mph breeze out of the north (out to right). 

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