September 26, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) pitches the ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at AT

Cain Looks To Set The Tone Against A Dangerous Reds Offense- Lineups

After nearly two weeks of  rather meaningless games for the Giants and even for the Reds who fell short of clinching the top spot in the National League, both will take part in a game that has “meaning.” Lots of meaning for that matter. The San Francisco Giants, two weeks out from winning the National League West crown for the second time in three years, will send their ace in Matt Cain to the hill to counter the Reds’ ace and Cy Young candiate Johnny Cueto in game one.

This division series between two of the top teams in the National League surely promises to be a well played one. AT&T Park and Great American Park both feature two of the best atmospheres in baseball, while the Giants and Reds both have their different styles. San Francisco scratches up big hits to score runs, while Cincinnati leans on the long ball to put runs on the board. Either way, their respective styles are obviously working well. The Giants finished the regular season with the third best record in the N.L, while the Reds nearly missed having the best record in baseball.

However, runs could come at a premium in Saturday’s series opener, as Cain and Cueto were two of the best pitchers in the N.L during the regular season. Cain posted a career low 2.79 ERA in 32 regular starts, including a perfect game against the Astros back in June, while Cueto emerged as the Reds’ undoubtable ace after finishing the season with a 19-8 record and 2.78 ERA. He did endure a rough stretch in September, but concluded the regular season with a couple Cueto “like” starts to put the concerns to rest and make him the unanimous choice to start game one.

Cincinnati’s bullpen was one of  the best in the majors this year, if the not the best with flamethrower Aroldis Chapman anchoring down the corps. San Francisco does things it a different fashion. Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy stripped Santiago Casilla of his closing duties in early August, and they’ve gone with a closer by committee approach since. It’s worked for the most part, so he’s sticking to his decision to start the playoffs without a defined closer.

With two very different, but very good clubs, nothing is very predictable at this point. Who knows how a two week relaxing period will play out for these two teams. One thing is predictable, however, and that is that Cain and Cueto will look to start a successful October run for their respective teams with a chaotic Giants’ crowd around them.

Reds

1. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
2. Zack Cozart (R) SS
3. Joey Votto (L) 1B
4. Ryan Ludwick (R) LF
5. Jay Bruce (L) RF
6. Scott Rolen (R) 3B
7. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
8. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Giants

1. Angel Pagan (S) CF
2. Marco Scutaro (R) 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
8. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
9. Matt Cain (R) P

Tags: 2012 MLB Playoffs Bruce Bochy Johnny Cueto Matt Cain San Francisco Giants

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