2006 National League Division Series 2
|2006 MLB Postseason|
|AL||NYY - DET||OAK - DET||STL - DET|
|MIN - OAK|
|NL||NYM - LAD||NYM - STL|
|STL - SD|
|<< 2005||2007 >>|
The St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres clawed their way into the playoffs and met in a rematch of the 2005 NLDS. St. Louis won just 83 regular season games, but that was enough to grab the NL Central Division crown. The Padres beat out the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West Division, finishing with a final record of 86-76. The two teams faced off at Busch Stadium during the final week of September. The Padres took the first two games, extending the Cardinals' losing streak to seven games, but St. Louis was able to grab the third and final game.
Contrary to the previous year's series, San Diego had reason for optimism. The 2005 Cardinals won 100 regular season games before sweeping the Padres out of the postseason. In 2006, the Padres had a better record, home field advantage, and San Diego had won four of the six regular-season meetings with St. Louis. Bruce Bochy's squad had momentum after winning 21 of their final 30 games, as opposed to the Cardinals, who won just 13 of 30. All this went for naught in Southern California. St. Louis flipped the tables and won the Divisio Series in four games. It was the first step on the way to a World Series title.
The St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols accounted for 49 of the Cardinals' 184 home runs. The star slugger hit .331, drove in 137 runs, and drew 92 walks. Scott Rolen was the team's other big bat; he clubbed 22 home runs and collected 95 RBIs. The lineup was stocked with other contributors, including David Eckstein, Chris Duncan, Juan Encarnacion and Ronnie Belliard. An aging Jim Edmonds provided 19 home runs and played a strong center field.
Chris Carpenter fronted the rotation with 15 wins and a 3.09 ERA. Jeff Weaver was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and posted a 5-4 record with St. Louis (after a terrible start to his season with Los Angeles). Jeff Suppan started the third game of the series; he won 12 regular-season games and had a strong postseason track record. Adam Wainwright was the club's postseason closer. A starter in the minors, Wainwright was used as the finisher after Jason Isringhausen was lost to injury shortly before the postseason began.
The San Diego Padres
San Diego's strength was its starting rotation. Jake Peavy struggled during the first half of the season, but settled down late in the year. He finished the season with an 11-14 record and 215 strikeouts. David Wells made just five regular-season starts for the Padres, but the big southpaw's postseason experience helped cement his spot in the October rotation. Chris Young won 11 games and finished sixth in the NL with a 3.46 ERA. Veteran right-hander Woody Williams was the team's fourth starter. Trevor Hoffman converted 46 saves and posted a 2.14 ERA.
Bruce Bochy's batting order was mostly made up of veterans. Mike Piazza and Mike Cameron each hit 22 home runs. Brian Giles drew 104 walks and added 37 doubles. Dave Roberts swiped 49 bases. Well-traveled third baseman Russell Branyan hit 7 home runs in 122 regular-season at bats. Adrian Gonzalez, one of the few young players in the starting lineup, paced the team with 24 home runs.
Game 1 @ Petco Park
Cardinals: 5, Padres: 1
|WP: Chris Carpenter (1-0), LP: Jake Peavy (0-1)|
- Attendance: 43,107
Chris Carpenter finished third in the [[2006 [National League Cy Young Award]] race. Jake Peavy totaled 215 strikeouts, second in the National League. When the two battled in the 2005 Division Series, Carpenter tossed six shutout innings, while Peavy surrendered eight runs in less than five innings. The Padres' power pitcher would seek revenge in Petco Park, but for the second straight year, Carpenter stole the show.
The two hurlers found a groove early in the game, Carpenter sat down the first nine Padres, while Peavy retired nine of the first ten batters he faced. Fortunes plummeted for San Diego in the 4th inning. Chris Duncan sparked the attack with a single, and Albert Pujols blasted a home run to put the Cardinals ahead, 2-0. Jim Edmonds followed with a single, and Scott Rolen doubled. St. Louis had runners at second and third with no outs. Juan Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly to score Edmonds and increased the lead to 3-0. Peavy intentionally walked Ronnie Belliard, and then induced a double play off the bat of Yadier Molina. The inning was over, but St. Louis had a three-run advantage.
St. Louis pieced together another rally in the 5th inning. Carpenter was the catalyst; he knocked a single off Peavy in the first at-bat of the frame. David Eckstein hit into a fielder's choice that forced Carpenter at second. Duncan made the inning's second out. A Pujols single moved Eckstein into scoring position for Edmonds. The veteran center fielder knocked home the run with a single. The Cardinals were up 4-0 through five.
Molina drove in Belliard with a single in the 6th inning to give St. Louis a 5-0 lead. It was more than Carpenter needed. The former Cy Young Award recipient yielded one run in 6 and 1/3 innings, he struck out seven and walked just one. Rudy Seanez and Chan Ho Park stopped the bleeding for the Padres, while Tyler Johnson and Adam Wainwright closed out the Cardinals' victory.
Game 2 @ Petco Park
Cardinals: 2, Padres: 0
|WP: Jeff Weaver (1-0), LP: David Wells (0-1), SV: Adam Wainwright (1)|
- Attendance: 43,463
Game 3 @ Busch Stadium
Padres: 3, Cardinals: 1
|WP: Chris Young (1-0), LP: Jeff Suppan (0-1), SV: Trevor Hoffman (1)|
- Attendance: 46,634
Game 4 @ Busch Stadium
Cardinals: 6, Padres: 2
|WP: Chris Carpenter (2-0), LP: Woody Williams (0-1)|
- Attendance: 46,476
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series