Position by position, the Reds and Phillies bear a stronger resemblance than you might imagine.

Both teams have built around slugging first basemen, defense-first shortstops and reasonably productive catchers, and they have outfields that roughly complement each other. On paper, at least, the difference appears to come from the respective pitching staffs.

The Phillies will go into the playoffs with a three-man rotation that holds up in comparison to any postseason contender, and the Reds have an intriguing bullpen that could shift the scales if the games go extra innings. Philadelphia will have the edge in playoff experience and will come into this series as the two-time defending National League champions.

CATCHER

Reds
Ramon Hernandez: .296, 7 HR, 48 RBIs
Ryan Hanigan: .295, 5 HR, 40 RBIs

Phillies
Carlos Ruiz: .298, 8 HR, 52 RBIs
Brian Schneider: .235, 4 HR, 15 RBIs

Hernandez and Hanigan formed one of the most productive catching tandems in the league, with both players showing plus patience and power in addition to an ability to control the running game. Both Hernandez and Hanigan threw out better than 30 percent of attempted basestealers, and they combined for 41 extra-base hits and 88 RBIs. ****

Ruiz had a breakout year for the Phillies, setting a new personal best for innings caught behind the plate and establishing career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. He even threw out 29 percent of the runners attempting to steal on him, the second-best rate of his career. Schneider performed above his career averages in limited playing time.

EDGE: Reds

FIRST BASE

Reds
Joey Votto: .323, 37 HR, 111 RBIs
Miguel Cairo: .282, 4 HR, 28 RBIs

Phillies
Ryan Howard: .278, 31 HR, 106 RBIs
Mike Sweeney: .240, 2 HR, 8 RBIs

Votto was an absolute monster at first base this year and will be on the short list of candidates for the league's MVP Award. Votto leads the league in on-base percentage, giving the hitters behind him plenty of chances to drive him in. He was also durable and productive against both sides, marginalizing Cairo's utility role as a backup at first base.

Howard had a down year by his own gargantuan standards, but he evened out a platoon split that has been problematic in the past and crossed the 30-homer and 100-RBI milestones for the fifth straight season. Howard missed time in August due to an injury, prompting Philadelphia to acquire Sweeney from Seattle as an insurance policy.

EDGE: Reds

SECOND BASE

Reds
Brandon Phillips: .272, 18 HR, 58 RBIs
Paul Janish: .263, 5 HR, 24 RBIs

Phillies
Chase Utley: .278, 16 HR, 63 RBIs
Wilson Valdez: .255, 4 HR, 33 RBIs

Phillips was durable and consistent for the Reds this season, providing a year that looks eerily similar to his career averages in a Cincinnati uniform. The 29-year-old regressed as a basestealer, though, and saw some of his home runs turn into doubles. Phillips was healthy all season, meaning that the Reds had little use for a backup at second base.

Utley missed more than 40 games due to an injury this season, but he was predictably brilliant when he was able to play. The five-time All-Star hit for a healthy average and supplemented that with a strong walk rate, but he also delivered his first slugging percentage under .500 in five years. Valdez, a glove man, subbed for both Utley and Jimmy Rollins this season.

EDGE: Phillies

SHORTSTOP

Reds
Orlando Cabrera: .262, 4 HR, 41 RBIs
Paul Janish: .263, 5 HR, 24 RBIs

Phillies
Jimmy Rollins: .242, 7 HR, 37 RBIs
Wilson Valdez: .255, 4 HR, 33 RBIs

Cabrera hasn't been a productive hitter in quite some time, but he's still capable of fielding his position and providing some value on the basepaths. Cabrera dipped to his lowest career slugging mark and lowest on-base percentage since 2000 this season, further dampening his offensive value. Janish had a nice season as a defensive-oriented utility infielder.

Rollins has also seen his offense subside over time, and he missed career-high stretches of time due to injury this season. The switch-hitter stole 17 bases and was caught just once this season****, but he registered his lowest slugging percentage since 2003. Valdez played for Rollins down the September stretch, but will likely resume a reserve role in the playoffs.

EDGE: Phillies

THIRD BASE

Reds
Scott Rolen: .290, 20 HR, 84 RBIs
Miguel Cairo: .282, 4 HR, 28 RBIs

Phillies
Placido Polanco: .298, 6 HR, 52 RBIs
Greg Dobbs: .194, 5 HR, 15 RBIs

Rolen had a surprise bounce-back year, moving back to the levels that made him a perennial All-Star earlier in the decade. He slowed down in the power department in the second half, but kept up his average and patience. Rolen was especially productive at home, and Cairo saw some utility time spelling the veteran at third base.

Polanco performed near his career rates offensively, and he provided the Phillies with strong defensive work at the hot corner. Polanco didn't hit for much power, but he did bat near his career average and walk about as much as he has in the past. Dobbs didn't hit much for the Phillies, continuing a downward trajectory from his last two seasons.

EDGE: Reds

OUTFIELD

Reds
Jonny Gomes: .266, 18 HR, 85 RBIs
Drew Stubbs: .253, 22 HR, 77 RBIs
Jay Bruce: .278, 22 HR, 66 RBIs
Chris Heisey: .255, 8 HR, 21 RBIs
Laynce Nix: .296, 4 HR, 18 RBIs

Phillies
Raul Ibanez: .274, 16 HR, 80 RBIs
Shane Victorino: .258, 18 HR, 68 RBIs
Jayson Werth: .294, 26 HR, 83 RBIs
Ben Francisco: .271, 6 HR, 25 RBIs
Domonic Brown: .217, 2 HR, 12 RBIs

The Reds have an athletic young outfield tandem in Stubbs and Bruce, homegrown players who are only beginning to scratch the surface of their abilities. Stubbs, a plus-defensive center fielder, did most of his damage vs. right-handed pitchers, while Bruce spread his offense around. Gomes specializes in punishing lefties, while Heisey and Nix spot him against righties.

Werth had the most productive season of any outfielder in this discussion, and Victorino provided an interesting mix of defense, power and speed. Ibanez saw his power regress in a major way from last season, but his average and on-base remained at a similar level. Brown is a youngster who struggled in limited playing time, and Francisco is a generic reserve.

EDGE: Phillies

STARTING PITCHERS

Reds
Bronson Arroyo: 17-10, 3.88 ERA, 215.2 IP
Johnny Cueto: 12-7, 3.64 ERA, 185.2 IP
Travis Wood: 5-4, 3.46 ERA, 96.1 IP
Homer Bailey: 4-3, 4.59 ERA, 104 IP
Edinson Volquez: 4-3, 4.31 ERA, 62.2 IP

Phillies
Roy Halladay: 21-10, 2.44 ERA, 250.2 IP
Cole Hamels: 12-11, 3.09 ERA, 206.2 IP
Roy Oswalt: 13-13, 2.73 ERA, 210.2 IP
Joe Blanton: 9-6, 4.74 ERA, 174.2 IP
Kyle Kendrick: 10-10, 4.76 ERA, 175.2 IP

The Reds are somewhat handicapped by a lingering arm injury to rookie Mike Leake, who has been shut down for the season. But they've dealt with that kind of turnover all season and gotten good results from arms like Wood and Sam LeCure. Arroyo and Cueto are competitive at the front of the rotation, but the Reds can't really be sure what they'll get after that.

Look upon this rotation and despair, playoff teams. Halladay and Oswalt represent a classically overpowering 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, and Hamels is an outsanding southpaw supplement to the mix. Blanton and Kendrick bring durability and postseason experience to the mix, but the Phillies will really go as far as Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels can take them.

EDGE: Phillies

MIDDLE RELIEVERS

Reds
Arthur Rhodes: 4-4, 2.33 ERA, 54 IP
Nick Masset: 4-4, 3.48 ERA, 75 IP
Logan Ondrusek: 4-0, 3.83 ERA, 56.1 IP
Jordan Smith: 3-2, 3.38 ERA, 40 IP
Aroldis Chapman: 2-2, 2.38 ERA, 11.1 IP

Phillies
Ryan Madson: 6-2, 2.60 ERA, 52 IP
Danys Baez: 3-3, 4.89 ERA, 46 IP
Chad Durbin: 4-1, 3.90 ERA, 67 IP
Jose Contreras: 6-4, 3.46 ERA, 54.2 IP
J.C. Romero: 1-0, 3.57 ERA, 35.1 IP

Everyone will be watching Chapman, owner of the quickest fastball in Major League history, to see what kind of impact he can make on the playoffs. But he's hardly the Reds' only weapon. Cincinnati can also boast of Rhodes, having a career year, and of Masset and Ondrusek, pitching in and handling substantial roles on the relief staff.

Philadelphia's middle-relief scenario is sturdy, if not spectacular. Madson is one of the league's better setup men, and Baez has valuable experience in the late innings. Durbin has performed well as a long man, and Romero has traditionally owned the role of situational southpaw. This group is relatively non-descript, but good enough to get the job done.

EDGE: Reds

CLOSER

Reds
Francisco Cordero: 6-5, 4.00 ERA, 38 SVs

Phillies
Brad Lidge: 1-1, 3.02 ERA, 27 SVs

Cordero was cruising along until September, and a poor final month caused his season ERA to rise by a half-run. The veteran's splits favor use against right-handed hitters, and Philly's lefty-laden lineup may present a challenge for him.

Nobody symbolizes the up-and-down closer's role better than Lidge, who went 41-for-41 in save opportunities in 2008 and then posted an ERA over 7.00 in '09. He's back in an effective streak now, and has been for much of the season.

EDGE: Phillies

BENCH

Reds
Ryan Hanigan: .295, 5 HR, 40 RBIs
Miguel Cairo: .282, 4 HR, 28 RBIs
Paul Janish: .263, 5 HR, 24 RBIs
Chris Heisey: .255, 8 HR, 21 RBIs
Laynce Nix: .296, 4 HR, 18 RBIs

Phillies
Brian Schneider: .235, 4 HR, 15 RBIs
Mike Sweeney: .240, 2 HR, 8 RBIs
Wilson Valdez: .255, 4 HR, 33 RBIs
Greg Dobbs: .194, 5 HR, 15 RBIs
Ross Gload: .280, 6 HRs, 22 RBIs
Ben Francisco: .271, 6 HR, 25 RBIs

The Reds have a productive hitter off the bench in Hanigan, and they have Cairo and Janish for multipositional flexibility. Heisey and Nix are both effective hitters against right-handers and could pose a threat as pinch-hitters off the bench.

The Phillies are long in the tooth and short on production on the bench, but Valdez has proven capable of manning either middle-infield spot. Dobbs hasn't hit at all as a pinch-hitter this year, and Francisco is the team's best bat on the bench.

EDGE: Reds

COACHES

Reds
Manager: Dusty Baker
Bench coach: Chris Speier
Hitting coach: Brook Jacoby
Pitching coach: Bryan Price
Third-base coach: Mark Berry
First-base coach: Billy Hatcher

Phillies
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Bench coach: Pete Mackanin
Hitting coach: Greg Gross
Pitching coach: Rich Dubee
Third-base coach: Sam Perlozzo
First-base coach: Davey Lopes

Baker has done an exceptional job guiding the Reds this season and appears set to receive a contract extension to further steward the team into the future. Baker, a three-time NL Manager of the Year, is one of just two field bosses to take three different NL teams to the playoffs. Now, he'll have to hope for his second trip to the World Series.

This staff is the league's gold standard, with Manuel guiding the Phillies with a cool hand and a staff that features former big league managers Mackanin, Perlozzo and Lopes. Lopes is thought of as one of the game's premier baserunning instructors, while Manuel, a former hitting coach, has led the Phillies to four straight division titles.

EDGE: Phillies

FANS

Reds: A sea of red shirts, a rabid fan base in a baseball town that longs for postseason success.
Phillies: The Phillie Phanatic, more than 120 straight sellouts, a loud and passionate fan base.

The Reds have been waiting for this opportunity for 15 years, and this will be Great American Ball Park's first chance to host a playoff game. The Phillies have seen their fan base come alive in the last three autumns and will expect more of the same.

EDGE: Phillies