Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
A preview of the first NLDS to kick off, which will be between the Reds and Giants.
Where to watch: Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TBS
Even though Tim Lincecum didn't pitch like his All-Star, Cy Young-winning self, and despite the division-rival Dodgers' blockbuster dealings at the trade deadline, the Giants had no problem controlling the NL West this season.
Cain, who tossed a perfect game earlier in the season, will get the ball in Game 1. In 2012, the righty earned an All-Star nod as he pitched his sixth consecutive 200-plus inning campaign. He allowed just 177 hits and 51 walks in 219⅓ innings while striking out 193. His K/9 improved this season, going from 7.3/9 in 2011 to 7.9.
After missing the playoffs in 2011, the Reds ran away with the NL Central crown, aided a bit by the departures of the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and the Brewers' Prince Fielder. Cueto continued his rise to pitching stardom, reaching the 200-inning plateau for the first time and seeing a significant bump in strikeouts. The righty fired 217 innings and racked up 170 whiffs while allowing 205 hits and 49 walks. He had the best ERA+ in the league, with a 151 mark.
Offense isn't San Francisco's game, but their best hitter is Buster Posey, who put up an MVP-like campaign in a bounce-back from a 2011 season largely lost to a broken leg. The catcher/first baseman hit .336/.408/.549 on the year with 24 homers and 39 doubles. Be on the lookout for Marco Scutaro, who discovered burning lumber in the Bay Area. After coming over from Colorado in a late-July deal, the second baseman hit .362/.385/.473 in 61 contests. More impressively, from Sept. 1 to Oct. 3, he hit .402/.421/.518.
Joey Votto is key to Cincinnati's offense. He battled injuries and surgeries during the season, but the first baseman should be healthy in October. When he was on the field, Votto hit .337/.474/.567. That OBP is real; the former MVP had 126 hits and 94 walks in just 475 plate appearances.