Braves-Giants position-by-position

Braves-Giants position-by-position

The Giants rode one of the best pitching staffs in baseball to their first National League West title since 2003, while the Braves won the Wild Card for the first time in veteran manager Bobby Cox's final season at the helm.

Now the two storied franchises are set to meet in the National League Division Series, so let's take a look at how these two clubs match up:

CATCHER

Braves
Brian McCann: .269, 21 HR, 77 RBIs
David Ross: .289, 2 HR, 28 RBIs

Giants
Buster Posey: .305, 18 HR, 67 RBIs
Eli Whiteside: .238, 4 HR, 10 RBIs

The Braves and Giants have two of the top hitting catchers in all of baseball with veteran backstop Brian McCann and rookie sensation Buster Posey both providing plenty of offense. The two clubs are almost even at this position, but McCann's experience behind the plate gives the Braves the nod.

EDGE: Braves

FIRST BASE

Braves
Derrek Lee: .260, 19 HR, 80 RBIs
Troy Glaus: .240, 16 HR, 71 RBIs

Giants
Aubrey Huff: .290, 26 HR, 86 RBIs
Travis Ishikawa: .266, 3 HR, 22 RBIs

Aubrey Huff has arguably been one of the best first baseman in all of baseball with his resurgence in 2010 after a down year with the Orioles and Tigers last season. But the Braves did add former Cubs star Derrek Lee in a mid-August trade, and he's been solid in his time with Atlanta.

EDGE: Giants

SECOND BASE

Braves
Omar Infante: .321, 8 HR, 47 RBIs
Brooks Conrad: .250, 8 HR, 33 RBIs

Giants
Freddy Sanchez: .292, 7 HR, 47 RBIs
Mike Fontenot: .283, 1 HR, 25 RBIs

Omar Infante has been a pleasant surprise for the Braves. Freddy Sanchez won a batting title in 2006, and he put together another impressive batting average this season.

EDGE: Braves

SHORTSTOP

Braves
Alex Gonzalez: .250, 23 HR, 88 RBIs
Omar Infante: .321, 8 HR, 47 RBIs

Giants
Juan Uribe: .248, 24 HR, 85 RBIs
Edgar Renteria: .276, 3 HR, 22 RBIs

Alex Gonzalez and Juan Uribe both display unusual power for shortstops but haven't offered much in the way of batting average or getting on base. But Uribe and the Giants get the nod here, because Gonzalez hasn't matched his power numbers he had in Toronto, as he had just six home runs with the Braves since being traded for Yunel Escobar in mid-July.

EDGE: Giants

THIRD BASE

Braves
Brooks Conrad: .250, 8 HR, 33 RBIs
Omar Infante: .321, 8 HR, 47 RBIs

Giants
Pablo Sandoval: .268, 13 HR, 63 RBIs
Juan Uribe: .248, 24 HR, 85 RBIs

The Braves took a big hit when they lost infielder Martin Prado -- who was .batting 307 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs -- for the season with a hip pointer and a torn external oblique muscle. Pablo Sandoval had a disappointing campaign after a breakout season last year, but he still gets the nod here over the rookie Brooks Conrad.

EDGE: Giants

OUTFIELD

Braves
Matt Diaz: .250, 7 HR, 31 RBIs
Nate McClouth: .190, 6 HR, 24 RBIs
Jason Heyward: .277, 18 HR, 72 RBIs
Melky Cabrera: .255, 4 HR, 42 RBIs

Giants
Pat Burrell: .252, 20 HR, 64 RBIs
Andres Torres: .268, 16 HR, 63 RBIs
Jose Guillen: .258, 19 HR, 77 RBIs
Cody Ross: .269, 14 HR, 65 RBIs

Though only 21 years old, Jason Heyward might just be the most talented of the bunch, but the Braves simply don't have the outfield depth of the Giants, who added Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen and Cody Ross via trade. Burrell has provided plenty of pop for the Giants, while Andres Torres has emerged as one of the game's best center fielders with his defense, his ability to get on base and his power.

EDGE: Giants

STARTING PITCHERS

Braves
Tim Hudson: 17-9, 2.83 ERA, 34 starts
Tommy Hanson: 10-11, 3.33 ERA, 34 starts
Derek Lowe: 16-12, 4.00 ERA, 33 starts
Jair Jurrjens: 7-6, 4.64 ERA, 20 starts

Giants
Tim Lincecum: 16-10, 3.43 ERA, 33 starts
Matt Cain: 13-11, 3.14 ERA, 33 starts
Barry Zito: 9-14, 4.15 ERA, 33 starts
Jonathan Sanchez: 13-9, 3.07 ERA, 33 starts

Both teams have impressive starting pitching, as Giants starters posted the lowest ERA in the National League this season and the Braves ranked fifth in starters' ERA. Tim Hudson saw his career revitalized, turning in one of the better efforts by a starter in the NL this year. The Giants, however, boast a better rotation simply because of the two-headed monster of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

EDGE: Giants

MIDDLE RELIEVERS

Braves
Takashi Saito : 2-3, 2.83 ERA, 56 appearances
Peter Moylan: 6-2, 2.97 ERA, 85 appearances
Jonny Venters: 4-4, 1.95 ERA, 79 appearances
Eric O'Flaherty: 3-2, 2.45 ERA, 56 appearances

Giants
Sergio Romo: 5-3, 2.18 ERA, 68 appearances
Santiago Casilla: 7-2, 1.95 ERA, 52 appearances
Jeremy Affeldt: 4-3, 4.14 ERA, 53 appearances
Javier Lopez: 4-2, 2.34 ERA, 77 appearances

This is another area of strength for the two teams, as both possess dominant bullpens. The Braves, though, have had injury problems lately with Takashi Saito experiencing shoulder issues and Eric O'Flaherty battling vertigo. But even with those injuries, the Braves still have more quality arms in their bullpen than the Giants.

EDGE: Braves

CLOSER

Braves
Billy Wagner: 7-2, 1.43 ERA, 71 appearances, 37 saves

Giants
Brian Wilson: 3-3, 1.81 ERA, 70 appearances, 48 saves

Billy Wagner and Brian Wilson have both been tremendous this season and are major reasons why their clubs are in the postseason. Wilson leads the Majors in saves, but Wagner has been more dominant, with a better ERA as well as more strikeouts, fewer walks allowed and fewer hits allowed this season.

EDGE: Braves

BENCH

Braves
Troy Glaus: .240, 16 HR, 71 RBIs
Eric Hinske: .256, 11 HR, 51 RBIs
Rick Ankiel: .232, 6 HR, 24 RBIs

Giants
Aaron Rowand: .230, 11 HR, 34 RBIs
Nate Schierholtz: .242, 3 HR, 17 RBIs
Edgar Renteria: .276, 3 HR, 22 RBIs

The Braves and Giants both have plenty of veterans on their respective benches, including players who have been on World Series-winning clubs in the past such as Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske, Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria. But the Braves get the edge here because of the power that Glaus and Hinske provide off the bench.

EDGE: Braves

COACHES

Braves
Manager : Bobby Cox
Bench coach: Chino Cadahia
Hitting coach: Terry Pendleton
Pitching coach: Roger McDowell
Third-base coach: Brian Snitker
First-base coach: Glenn Hubbard

Giants
Manager : Bruce Bochy
Bench coach: Ron Wotus
Hitting coach: Hensley Meulens
Pitching coach: Dave Righetti
Third-base coach: Tim Flannery
First-base coach: Roberto Kelly

Both clubs boast veteran managers, as Bruce Bochy has 16 years of managing experience and Cox has 29 years of managing experience. Cox, who is retiring after the season, has the upper hand, however, as he's led the Braves to 11 division titles and a Wild Card berth while this is Bochy's fifth postseason appearance and his first since taking over as Giants manager in 2007.

EDGE: Braves

FANS

Braves
Tomahawk Chop, Coca-Cola bottle behind left field, 40-foot Chick-fil-A Cow

Giants
McCovey Cove, Coca-Cola bottle and glove in left field, fog horn when Giants players hit home runs

The Giants have averaged more than 7,000 fans per game than the Braves this season, as fans have been flocking to AT&T Park to watch the Giants in their race to their first postseason appearance since 2003. Atlanta fans, meanwhile, are used to the Braves making the postseason, as this year marks their 12th postseason appearance since 1995.

EDGE: Giants

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.