Votto caught a rough break over the summer, injuring himself and needing knee surgery, causing him to miss over a month and a half of the season. The time missed cost him a legitimate shot at his second MVP award, but he rejoined the Reds for the final month of the year and finished with great numbers over the 111 games he was able to play. His batting average, OBP and slugging percentage have all been shockingly high (.337/.474/.567), and he’s back to lead Cincinnati on the offensive side of things against the Giants. No one else on the Reds hits for average like Votto, and only Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick come close in the power department.
Votto will try to erase the memory of his and the Reds’ 2010 playoff appearance, in which he went 1-for-10 as the Reds suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies. On the defensive side, starter Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA) will lead the attack along with the 24-year-old Mat Latos (14-4, 3.48).