The Reds and Cards are in one of the longest running one and two pennant races in history. Neither team can really put substantial distance between themselves and the other.
Both squads have strong talent and deep rosters.
Let's take a look at the way the teams stack up against each other, position by position.
Yadier Molina is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. His average has dropped this season to .243 and his run production has dropped as well.
The Reds do not have a "true" starting catcher. They rotate (not platoon) Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan, and with the production they get from the duo places them high on the list in both leagues.
Albert Pujols is arguably the best player in the game today, and has been for a few years. He is a rare bird indeed, blending excellent power with a high average.
Prince Albert is currently batting .305 and is second in the NL in home runs and RBI. He is also second in the league in OBP.
His counterpart Joey Votto is only in his third full year in the majors. He has a legitimate chance at winning the Triple Crown this year, and is having an MVP-type season himself.
He leads the league with a .324 average and OBP at .423. He is currently tied for second with Pujols in home runs with 27 and is fifth in RBI.
Skip Schumaker ranks near the bottom in almost all offensive categories for second basemen. A natural outfielder, he was relegated to the middle infield position last season.
The Reds Brandon Phillips made the All-Star team for the first team this year and leads the league in runs scored and is second in total hits. Many people see him as the best defensive second baseman in the National League.
Cardinal rookie David Freese was having an exceptional season until injuries forced him to the DL. He re-injured himself in a rehab game and it is unknown how long he will be out. Journeyman, Felipe Lopez is taking his place at the hot corner in the interim.
Scott Rolen has won seven Gold Glove Awards and is enjoying his best season since 2006 when he was still with St. Louis. He is hitting .299 with 18 HR and 62 RBI.
Brendan Ryan has played the majority of the season at shortstop for the Cards. He is batting .223 with two HR and 21 RBI.
Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera came to the Reds just prior to Spring Training and has been a welcome addition. He is the missing link which makes the Reds the best infield in the National League.
He is batting .260 with three HR and 37 RBI, and has been a decent hitter in the clutch.
Matt Holiday has been on fire lately. Since July 18, he has hit 15 HR and driven in 40 while batting ,318.with an OBP of .393.
Prior to the All-Star break Gomes was batting near .300 and was in the top five in RBI in the NL. He has since slid downward to the .275 range with 66 RBI.
Rookie Colby Rasmus is batting .276 with 18 HR and 47 RBI.
Reds rookie Drew Stubbs is batting only .226 with 13 HR but leads Rasmus in RBI with 49.
John Jay has taken over the reigns in right field after Ryan Ludwick was traded in July. In only 123 AB Jay is batting .366
Reds under-achiever Jay Bruce is batting .254 with 10 HR and 41 RBI.
Advantage: REDS (slightly)
Adam Wainwright, Cris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, newly acquired Jake Westbrook, and Jeff Suppan is certainly one of the most formidable rotations in the Major League. The Cards ERA for their starters leads the league at 3.32. They are 45-32 and have held the opposition to a BA of .260. Wainwright has the lone shutout for the Cards this year.
The Reds have had many different starters this season. Their current rotation of Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and Edinson Volquez could almost be called Bronson and the Babies.
The starters stats for the Reds are as follows: 41-28 with an ERA of 4.07 with an opposing BA of only .256. Homer Bailey and Cueto have the only two shutouts for the Reds this year, ironically back-to-back.
Advantage: CARDINALS (slightly)
The Cardinal bullpen has not been their strong suit this season. Kyle McClellan, Blake Hawksworth, Mike MacDougal, Dennis Reyes, and Trever Miller are all front men for closer Ryan Franklin.
Their bullpen is only credited with 23 saves in 31 opportunites with an ERA of 3.71 with an OBA of .252
The Reds bullpen has been toyed with all season with men being sent back and forth to Triple-A Louisville. It is currently stocked by Sir Arthur Rhodes, Nick Massett, Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray, and Jordan Smith with Francisco Cordero in charge of heart attacks and strokes.
They are credited with 31 saves in 42 chances and have posted an ERA of 3.99 while holding the opposition to a .251 BA.
The Reds have a stronger bench by far. Chris Heisey, Layne Nix, Miguel Cairo, Paul Janish, Juan Francisco, and either Hernandez or Hanigan make choices alot easier for Manager Dusty Baker.
The Cards bench is lead by Randy Winn, Jason LaRue, Aaron Miles, and Aaron Craig.
You may draw your own conclusions, but any way you dissect it, the teams matchup very well. It should be a nail-biting finish to a wonderful season.