The skinny: Division champs for the second time in three years, the Reds will start with trying to win a postseason game this time after being swept by the Phillies in the 2010 Division Series. Baker has been sidelined with health problems but is back for the playoffs to lead Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and the rest of the Redlegs. Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto leads a rotation deep enough that the fourth starter, Homer Bailey, pitched a no-hitter last week. And don’t forget the dominant Aroldis Chapman throwing 100-plus mph to finish games.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Credentials: 94-68, NL West champions
Last postseason appearance: 2010, beat Rangers 4-1 in World Series
Best postseason finish: World Series champions (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010)
Manager: Bruce Bochy (12-15 postseason record)
Player to watch: C Buster Posey
Pitcher to watch: RHP Matt Cain
The skinny: The Giants have plenty of new faces since winning it all in 2010, but Posey remains the key. His return after missing most of last season with an injury has sparked an offense that gets it done mostly in drips and drabs (only Posey, with 24, has more than 12 homers). Cain sets the tone for the pitching staff, and he, lefty Madison Bumgarner and Pirates castoff Ryan Vogelsong have compensated for Tim Lincecum’s decline. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla have shared closer duties this year, with Romo getting the call lately.
Credentials: 94-68, NL wild card
Last postseason appearance: 2010, lost 3-1 to Giants in NLDS
Best postseason finish: World Series champions (1914, 1957, 1995)
Manager: Fredi Gonzalez (no postseason appearances)
Player to watch: 3B Chipper Jones