The Giants battled on and off with the Los Angeles Dodgers for most of the spring and early into the summer, but the Dodgers began fading near the end and fell way off the pace. The Giants soared, finishing with a 19-8 September to pull away and clinch their second NL West title in three years. They were led by Matt Cain on the mound and MVP candidate Buster Posey at the plate. While Tim Lincecum has struggled, Madison Bumgarner has been steady and Barry Zito has picked up the slack with a solid finish to the season.
The Reds actually mirrored the Giants with a strong performance after the All-Star break. Cincinnati rocked July and August to pull well ahead of Pittsburgh and St. Louis, then wrapped up the division title a few weeks later. Cincinnati will be riding hot bats like Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick, with solid pitching from guys like Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos.