2006 National League Division Series
The 2006 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 2006 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Sunday, October 8, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
- (1) New York Mets (Eastern Division champions, 97–65) vs. (4) Los Angeles Dodgers (Wild Card, 88–74); Mets win series, 3–0.
- (2) San Diego Padres (Western Division champions, 88–74) vs. (3) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champions, 83–78); Cardinals win series, 3–1.
The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was determined by playing record. The Padres were awarded the Western Division title over the Dodgers due to their winning the season series against Los Angeles 13–5.
The Mets and the Cardinals met in the NL Championship Series, with the Cardinals becoming the National League champion and going on to face the American League champion Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series.
The NL playoff race was highly dramatic when as many as six teams entered the final weekend of the regular season fighting for the final three playoff spots. Two of three division champions were decided on the final day of the regular season.
The New York Mets began the season with high hopes of finally ending the Atlanta Braves' string of division titles. The Mets lived up to their high expectations and roared out of the gate, taking over first place in the division on the fourth day of the season and never looking back. They won seven of their first eight games, and had built up a double-digit lead in the standings by the end of June. The Mets clinched the division on September 18, and finished twelve games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves finished third, eighteen games back. However, the Mets entered the postseason without injured ace Pedro Martínez, and learned the day before Game 1 of the Division Series that projected Game 1 starter Orlando Hernández would be lost for the whole round.
The St. Louis Cardinals' run to their third consecutive Central Division championship pales in comparison to their runs in the previous two seasons. Like the previous two seasons, the Cardinals took over the lead in the division early on, overtaking the Cincinnati Reds on June 9. It appeared as if this season would be like the previous two as the Cardinals steadily built up their lead up to as much as five and a half games and a 42–26 record on June 19. The Cardinals began interleague play by being swept by both the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers as part of an eight-game losing streak. Despite the streak, they did not relinquish the division lead. The Reds were able to tie the Cardinals in the standings on June 30 and July 1, but the Cardinals regained sole possession of first place the following day and held onto the lead for the rest of the season despite additional losing streaks of eight and seven games. The main contributor to the Cardinals' struggles was the numerous injuries to key players throughout the season to include Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, David Eckstein, Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder, and Jason Isringhausen. The title appeared to be well in hand on September 19 with leads of seven games over the Reds and eight and half games over the Houston Astros with just thirteen games left to play. The Cardinals then went on a seven-game losing streak just as the Astros won seven consecutive, shrinking their lead to just a game and a half. The Cardinals were able to regain their composure by winning three of their next four and clinching on the final day of the season with an Astros loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The San Diego Padres playoff run was led by their strong pitching and saw closer Trevor Hoffman overtake Lee Smith as the all-time saves leader. This season also marked the first time in Padres history that the team went to the playoffs in consecutive years. The Padres did not clinch a playoff spot until the final weekend of the regular season and finished with an identical record as the Los Angeles Dodgers, but were awarded the Western Division title due to the Padres winning the season series with Dodgers 13–5.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' run to the playoffs was most notable for their streaky play in the second half of the season. The Dodgers started the second half by losing thirteen out of fourteen games and trailing the Padres by seven and a half games, in last place in the division, and behind eight teams in the wild card race. They immediately followed that streak by winning seventeen of their next eighteen to put them on top of the division by three and half games and to have a better record than all eight teams they had trailed in the wild card race prior to the streak. Their inconsistent play continued as they were swept by the Padres in late August as part of a four-game losing streak, only to follow that up by winning seven consecutive, then losing their next three. The Dodgers finished the season strong by winning their final seven games, clinching a playoff berth in the final weekend over the Philadelphia Phillies and finishing tied with the Padres. The Dodgers were awarded the wild-card spot based on their 5-13 head-to-head record against San Diego, who earned the divisional championship.
New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
New York won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 4||Los Angeles Dodgers – 5, New York Mets – 6||Shea Stadium||3:05||56,979|
|2||October 5||Los Angeles Dodgers – 1, New York Mets – 4||Shea Stadium||2:57||57,029|
|3||October 7||New York Mets – 9, Los Angeles Dodgers – 5||Dodger Stadium||3:51||56,293|
San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 3||St. Louis Cardinals – 5, San Diego Padres – 1||Petco Park||2:54||43,107|
|2||October 5||St. Louis Cardinals – 2, San Diego Padres – 0||Petco Park||2:54||43,463|
|3||October 7||San Diego Padres – 3, St. Louis Cardinals – 1||Busch Stadium (III)||3:33||46,634|
|4||October 8||San Diego Padres – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 6||Busch Stadium (III)||2:44||46,476|
New York vs. Los Angeles
The Mets found themselves down two pitchers before the start of the series, first losing ace Pedro Martínez for the postseason and then losing probable Game 1 starter Orlando Hernández just hours before first pitch. Despite having a potent offense, pundits lessened the Mets' chances to pull off a series victory with their starting rotation so diminished. What actually ensued was Mets pitching helping to keep the two bats at the top of the Dodgers order from doing any consistent damage. Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton went 3 for 24 (.125) in the series combined. In the regular season, they hit .300 and stole 59 bases combined. Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent had eight hits in the three-game series. Only Fernando Viña had more hits in a series that lasted three games.
Game 1, October 4
| WP: Guillermo Mota (1–0) LP: Brad Penny (0–1) Sv: Billy Wagner (1)|
NYM: Carlos Delgado (1), Cliff Floyd (1)
The game started off with Mets rookie starter John Maine on the mound as an emergency replacement for Orlando Hernández. Hernández was sidelined with a torn muscle, and ended up missing the rest of the postseason. Maine kept the Mets in the game with only one earned run in 4 1⁄3 innings pitched. This game was notable for having two runners getting tagged out at home plate in the second inning. With runners on first and second and nobody out, catcher Russell Martin hit a line drive to the wall in right field. Jeff Kent tried to tag up from second base in the event that right fielder Shawn Green caught the ball. Instead, the ball sailed over Green's head. Both Kent and J. D. Drew raced around the bases towards the plate. Green threw to cut-off man José Valentín, who relayed to Paul Lo Duca at the plate. Lo Duca was first able to tag out Kent. Drew, trying to score in desperation right behind Kent, was also tagged out at the plate. Lo Duca almost didn't see Drew in time to slap the tag on. The Dodgers would score a run later in the inning, but Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd hit home runs in the fourth. Nomar Garciaparra was able to tie the game at four with a two-RBI double in the top of the seventh, but Delgado and David Wright gave the Mets the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh with RBI hits off Brad Penny (who was relieving Derek Lowe), with closer Billy Wagner nailing down the save.
Game 2, October 5
| WP: Tom Glavine (1–0) LP: Hong-Chih Kuo (0–1) Sv: Billy Wagner (2)|
LAD: Wilson Betemit (1)
Game 2 pitted Dodgers rookie Hong-Chih Kuo against Tom Glavine, who earned the win, with the Mets offense manufacturing runs. In the bottom of the third, outfielder Endy Chávez hit a bunt single to lead off the inning. That led to a José Reyes RBI ground out. In the sixth, Paul Lo Duca hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 2–0 lead. In the seventh, after pinch-hitter Julio Franco hit into a fielder's choice, driving in a run, Reyes drove in another run with an RBI single. Wilson Betemit hit a home run for the Dodgers but lost 4–1. The Dodgers were hit with more bad news. Nomar Garciaparra was lost after a leg injury that would keep him off the field except for pinch-hitting duties.
Game 3, October 7
| WP: Pedro Feliciano (1–0) LP: Jonathan Broxton (0–1)|
LAD: Jeff Kent (1)
In Los Angeles the Mets jumped out on Dodgers veteran starter Greg Maddux for three runs in the first inning, and added another in the third. The Dodgers came back in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded double by rookie first baseman James Loney off Mets starter Steve Trachsel for two runs to make the score 4–2. Loney was starting in place of the injured Nomar Garciaparra. In the fifth, Jeff Kent hit a two-run home run off reliever Darren Oliver to tie the game at four. The Dodgers would add another run in the inning as Loney drew a bases-loaded walk. But the Mets proved too relentless. Trailing 5–4 in the sixth, Shawn Green started off with a leadoff double. After José Valentín popped out on the infield, pinch hitter Michael Tucker drew a walk. Three consecutive bloop hits from José Reyes, Paul Lo Duca, and Carlos Beltrán, plated three Met runs, making the score 7–5. Having taken the lead, the Mets never looked back, adding two more runs in the eighth, to take a 9–5 lead. Former Dodgers Green and Lo Duca finished with two RBI each and Pedro Feliciano earned the win. This was the first time that the Mets swept a postseason series since the 1969 NLCS.
|New York Mets||3||0||2||2||1||7||2||2||0||19||30||3|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||0||1||0||2||3||0||3||1||1||11||32||4|
|Total attendance: 170,301 Average attendance: 56,767|
San Diego vs. St. Louis
Game 1, October 3
| WP: Chris Carpenter (1–0) LP: Jake Peavy (0–1)|
STL: Albert Pujols (1)
In a pitching rematch of Game 1 of the 2005 NLDS, Chris Carpenter and Jake Peavy both started strong through three innings and it appeared that the pitcher’s duel that was expected the previous year would occur this time around. That changed in the fourth inning when Chris Duncan hit a leadoff single, then Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run 422 feet (129 m) into one of the deepest parts of Petco Park. Jim Edmonds then singled, moved to third on Scott Rolen's double, and scored on Juan Encarnacion's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals added to their lead on Edmonds's RBI single next inning that scored David Eckstein from third and in the sixth when Ronnie Belliard singled with one out, stole second, and scored on Yadier Molina's single to knock Peavy out of the game. Carpenter on the other hand continued his strong pitching performance as he pitched into the seventh inning, allowing just one run to cross the plate when Dave Roberts tripled with one out in the sixth and scored on Brian Giles's sacrifice fly. The Cardinal bullpen, which had been shaky down the stretch, pitched the final 2 2⁄3 innings of the game allowing just one hit. The Cardinals led the best-of-five series one game to none.
Game 2, October 5
|WP: Jeff Weaver (1–0) LP: David Wells (0–1) Sv: Adam Wainwright (1)|
Cardinal starter Jeff Weaver and four relievers combined on a four-hitter to shut out the Padres 2–0. The only runs scored in the game came in the fourth when Preston Wilson hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Albert Pujols, who reached single on Dave Roberts's throw to home. Pujols moved to third on a groundout before scoring on Jim Edmonds's RBI single. Padres starter David Wells pitched five solid innings in a losing effort.
Game 3, October 7
| WP: Chris Young (1–0) LP: Jeff Suppan (0–1) Sv: Trevor Hoffman (1)|
STL: So Taguchi (1)
Game 3 ended the Padres' eight-game winless streak against the Cardinals in the postseason and gave them their first postseason win since Game 6 of the 1998 NLCS. However, they left fourteen runners on base. The Padres scored their runs in the third off of Jeff Suppan when he allowed a one out double to Adrian Gonzalez and walked Mike Cameron before both men scored on Russell Branyan's double to left with Branyan reaching third on Chris Duncan's throw to home. Branyan then scored on Geoff Blum's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals scored their only run in the eight on So Taguchi's home run off of reliever Scott Linebrink.
As of 2015, this was the last postseason win for the Padres. This was also the last playoff game to be televised by the ESPN family of networks, at least until 2013.
Game 4, October 8
|WP: Chris Carpenter (2–0) LP: Woody Williams (0–1)|
After losing Game 3, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa decided to use Carpenter to start Game 4 in hopes of closing out the Series at home. Carpenter started off shakily, allowing back-to-back one hit singles to Brian Giles and Adrian Gonzalez and walking Josh Bard to load the bases. Russell Branyan walked to force in a run before Mike Cameron's groundout scored another. Carpenter settled down and pitched six scoreless innings before being pulled in the eighth.
St. Louis answered by loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning off of Woody Williams on a single, walk and hit by pitch with two outs before Ronnie Belliard tied the game with a two-run single, but was tagged out at second to end the inning. The game remained tied until the seventh when Albert Pujols drew a leadoff walk and scored on Juan Encarnacion's triple. Williams was replaced with Cla Meredith, who hit Belliard with a pitch before allowing an RBI single to Scott Spiezio. Yadier Molina's single loaded the bases before Padre third baseman Branyan's throwing error to second on Carpenter's ground ball scored Belliard and kept the bases loaded. David Eckstein's sacrifice bunt scored Spiezio to give the Cardinals a 6–2 lead. Rookie pitcher Adam Wainwright pitched a scoreless ninth despite allowing two hits to close out the Series and allow the Cardinals to advance to the NLCS for the third consecutive year.
The offensive woes that plagued the Padres in the first three games continued for the Padres in Game 4. The team failed to score after the first, and went a combined 2-for-32 with runners in scoring position in the Series.
It was the final Division Series game televised by Fox, at least for the foreseeable future. This is also, as of 2006, the last playoff game for the Padres.
|St. Louis Cardinals||2||0||0||5||1||5||0||1||0||14||34||2|
|San Diego Padres||2||0||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||6||29||1|
|Total attendance: 179,680 Average attendance: 44,920|
Payoff pitch again...there he goes...and there it goes! To deep left center field! Back, back, back, gone! Albert Pujols has done it again, a two-run shot here in the fourth inning and the Cardinals have struck first 2–0.
3–2 to Martinez...in the air down the right field line. Green, in the corner, he's got room...and the New York Mets, for the first time since 2000, will advance to the National League Championship Series, they have swept the Dodgers, three games to none.
Now it's three and two, Loney running, Wagner deals: Swing and a fly ball, right field, towards the line...Green over...in foul ground, makes the catch! Put it in the books! The Mets are gonna play for the pennant! They have swept the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, winning three straight. They blew a four-run lead early, the Dodgers came back to take a 5–4 lead, but the Mets stormed back, they win it 9–5 and now they are all jumping up and down right in front of second base!
2–2 pitch...breaking ball, on the ground to Pujols, and for the third straight year the St. Louis Cardinals advance to the National League Championship Series.
Swing and a slow roller to the Cardinal first baseman, he takes care of it unassisted, and the Redbirds are headin' for Gotham!— Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon calls the last out of the NLDS
- "2006 NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2006 NLDS - San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- Major League Baseball, Carpenter, Pujols Power Cards