For the first time in seven years, postseason baseball has found its way to AT&T Park. In the National League Divisional Series, the newly crowned NL West champion San Francisco Giants (92-70) will meet the Atlanta Braves (91-71), who also squeaked by on the final day of the season.  The winner of the five-game series will move on to face either Philadelphia (97-65) or Cincinnati (91-71).

No doubt Giants general manager Brian Sabean is spearheading an extended powwow with manager Bruce Bochy and his staff, as the rules call for the 40-man active roster to be trimmed down to 25 by Thursday’s opener in China Basin.

Although substitutions can be made in each round of the playoffs, it will be interesting to find out the composition of the final list for the NLDS, as it will undoubtedly give clues on how they intend to attack the Braves and advance to their first National League Championship Series since 2002.

All year long, the Giants’ outstanding pitching has defied belief, especially during the final month of the season. San Francisco hurlers held opposing batters to a .182 average in September and conceded three runs or less in 24 out of 26 games, a feat that has occurred only once since 1920.

However, the team’s bats haven’t fared as well, with their own dubious streak defining their offense. In the last 29 games to close the year, Giants hitters scored more than four runs only eight times.

With that said, smallball will the be order of the day in San Francisco, and the signs were evident in last Sunday’s division-clinching win over San Diego. In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Giants in desperate need of adding an insurance run to a slim 2-0 lead, Eugenio Velez laid down a sacrifice bunt to move 245-pound Pablo Sandoval from first base.

However, the portly former All-Star’s lack of speed was blatantly clear when he was gunned down at second with three strides to spare in what became a waste of an out.

The Giants’ formidable rotation and bullpen have compensated for the toothless offense for most of 2010. Since this pattern will likely continue into the playoffs, the necessity of manufacturing runs will be at a premium in close games, where each win gets the team one step closer to the World Series.

According to the way Sabean and Bochy have handled the season to date, I have broken down the current 40-man roster and given my projections for the final 25 who will take the field for the NLDS. Starters are in bold, cuts will have lines through their names, and shaky picks up for debate will be in italics, with key stats for each player included.

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