If the opponent is going to be the Giants, and it is certainly starting to look like it could be, I know without looking at the stats that Mat Latos not only hates the Giants, but has a particularly sparkling resume against that team in his young career... including one impressive victory against them as a Red this year.
Only one pitcher will have the chance to go twice in the first round of the playoffs. Latos is a hoss of a man and has shown absolutely no sign of wearing down in his most recent starts late into the 2012 season. Fatigue at this point does not appear to be an issue with him. With Cueto's recent struggles, Latos appears to not only be one of the strongest men on the staff, but possibly one of the strongest starting pitchers in baseball at this late point of the season. In a season where Ryan Vogelsong, AJ Burnett, Chad Billingsley and CC Sabbathia have faded down the stretch, it can be argued that Latos is one pitcher who has not only maintained his performance, but has actually gotten better.
Long story short, I would start Latos against Cain in the first game, Homer against Baumgarner in the second and hold Johnny back for game three. That would give Latos two starts against the Giants and line Cueto up to open the NLCS against whoever that may be... hopefully rested and ready to dominate for a couple of weeks the way he did mid-season.
As far as I am concerned, that is our best shot.
So, after all the hand-wringing and buyer's remorse regarding the Latos trade in April and May, this guy may be a catalyst for the Reds in the first round, catapulting them deeper into October. I am more sure it is going to be the Giants than any other team with 16 ballgames to go, and there is no pitcher on the staff that I would rather run out against Giants in any game than Mat Latos. Two starts are only better.