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Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The National League featured two extremely close divisional races that went right down to the wire in 2006.  After posting the best record in baseball in each of the previous two seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals edged out the Houston Astros for the N.L. Central title by just 1 ½ games with a decidedly mediocre mark of 83-78.  Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres won 22 of their final 31 games to capture their second consecutive Western Division crown.  San Diego and Los Angeles finished the regular season with identical 88-74 records, but the Padres claimed first place on the strength of their better record within the division.  The Dodgers, who also played well down the stretch, winning nine of their final 10 contests, advanced to the postseason as the senior circuit’s wild-card representative.  

While the Cardinals and Padres had to wait until the season’s final days to lay claim to their respective division titles, the New York Mets ran away with the N.L. East.  Ending Atlanta’s 11-year reign as division champions, the Mets compiled the National League’s best record – a mark of 97-65 that left them 12 full games ahead of the runner-up Philadelphia Phillies.  The Braves slipped to third in the division, 18 games off the pace.

The Braves’ poor showing certainly could not be traced to their offense, which led the league with 222 home runs and placed second with 849 runs scored and a .270 team batting average.  Andruw Jones followed up his 50-homer 2005 campaign with another outstanding performance, hitting 41 home runs, knocking in 129 runs, and scoring 107 others.  But, with longtime pitching coach Leo Mazzone accepting a lucrative offer to join the Baltimore Orioles during the off-season, the Atlanta pitching staff faltered badly, finishing in the bottom half of the league rankings with a team ERA of 4.60.  As a result, the Braves finished below .500 for the first time in 16 years.  

The Mets took advantage of Atlanta’s decline to claim their first division championship in 18 years.  The senior circuit’s most well-balanced team, New York placed high in the league rankings with 834 runs scored, 200 home runs, and a 4.15 team ERA.  Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel led New York’s deep starting rotation by winning 15 games apiece.  Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez each posted nine victories.  Closer Billy Wagner anchored the bullpen, saving 40 games and striking out 94 batters in 72 innings of work.  

On offense, catcher Paul LoDuca batted .318 and scored 80 runs.  First baseman Carlos Delgado hit 38 home runs, drove in 114 runs, and scored 89 others.  Third baseman David Wright hit 26 homers, knocked in 116 runs, scored another 96, and batted .311.  Centerfielder Carlos Beltran batted .275 and led the team with 41 home runs, 116 runs batted in, and 127 runs scored.  Shortstop Jose Reyes served as New York’s offensive catalyst, hitting 19 home runs, knocking in 81 runs, batting .300, placing among the league leaders with 122 runs scored and 194 hits, and topping the circuit with 17 triples and 64 stolen bases.  Both Beltran and Reyes earned top-ten finishes in the N.L. MVP voting.

Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard ended up being named the league’s Most Valuable Player.  In just his first full season, the slugging first baseman batted .313, scored 104 runs, and topped the circuit with 58 home runs, 149 runs batted in, and 383 total bases.  Howard’s exceptional performance led the Phillies to within three games of a spot in the playoffs as the league’s wild-card entry.
   
The Padres edged out the Dodgers for first place in the West primarily on the strength of their solid pitching.  Although the Padres ranked just 13th in the league in runs scored (731), they compiled the circuit’s lowest team ERA (3.87).  No one on the staff won more than 12 games.  But Woody Williams, Chris Young, Jake Peavy and Clay Hensley each posted double-digit win totals.  Meanwhile, closer Trevor Hoffman led the league with 46 saves.

The Cardinals faltered badly down the stretch, losing seven of their final 10 games, to almost blow a 6 ½-game lead they held over the Astros with only 10 games remaining on the schedule.  Houston finished just 1 ½ games behind the division champions, while the Cincinnati Reds came in a relatively close third, only 3 ½ games off the pace.

The runner-up Astros received outstanding performances from Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman.  Oswalt compiled a record of 15-8 and a league-leading 2.98 ERA.  Berkman batted .315 and placed among the league leaders with 45 home runs, 136 runs batted in, and a .621 slugging average, en route to earning a third-place finish in the N.L. MVP balloting.

Finishing one spot ahead of Berkman in the voting was Albert Pujols, who had another huge year for the division-winning Cardinals.  Athough Pujols missed almost three weeks of the season with an injury, he placed among the league leaders with 49 home runs, 137 runs batted in, 119 runs scored, and a .331 batting average.  He also topped the circuit with a .671 slugging average.  

Despite struggling as much as they did during the final two weeks of the regular season, the Cardinals regrouped in the playoffs.  After disposing of the Padres in four games in their first-round matchup, they won a closely-contested seven game NLCS against a New York Mets team that earlier swept the Dodgers in the other Division Series.  Catcher Yadier Molina delivered the big blow of the NLCS, propelling the Cardinals into the World Series by hitting a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning of Game Seven that gave St. Louis a 3-1 victory.    

St. Louis subsequently took advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy defensive play by a Detroit Tigers club that appeared rusty after a one-week layoff.  The Tigers made three errors in Game One of the Fall Classic, in helping the Cardinals to a 7-2 win.  A throwing error by rookie pitcher Joel Zumaya contributed to a 5-0 St. Louis win in Game Three, and a key Detroit miscue led to a 5-4 Cardinals triumph in Game Four.  Another throwing error by the Tigers helped the Cardinals post a 4-2 victory in Game Five that gave them their first world title in 24 years.   

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 6 – Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-4 in Philadelphia’s 4–2 loss to St. Louis, ending his multi-season hitting streak at 38 games.

• April 10 – The Cardinals played their first official game at the New Busch Stadium, winning the contest by a score of 6–4 over the Brewers.

• May 20 — Barry Bonds hit his 714th career home run, to tie Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list.

• May 28 – Bonds hit home run number 715, to take over sole possession of second place on the all-time list.

• September 22 – Washington’s Alfonso Soriano collected his 40th double of the season, establishing himself as the first player in baseball history to amass 40 homers, 40 steals, and 40 doubles in the same season.

• The Cardinals’ 83 victories represent the lowest win-total ever by a World Series champion.

• Arizona’s Brandon Webb (16-8 and 3.10 ERA) earned N.L. Cy Young honors.

• Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez led the league with a .344 batting average and 53 doubles.

• Trevor Hoffman's 46 saves gave him 482 for his career, putting him into first place on the all-time list.

• On September 6, Marlins rookie Anibal Sanchez pitched the first no-hitter in more than two years.

• Philadelphia's Chase Utley hit 32 home runs, knocked in 102 runs, batted .309, collected 203 hits, and led the league with 131 runs scored.

• Phillies teammate Jimmy Rollins hit 25 homers, drove in 83 runs, scored 127 others, and stole 36 bases.  

• Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.292 batting average, 119 runs scored, and 51 stolen bases) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• The New York Mets snapped Atlanta's record of 14 consecutive division titles.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ARI 2282 5645 773 1506 743 .185 331 38 160 76 30 2393 .318 .287 .674 136 53 61
ATL 2435 5583 849 1510 818 .184 312 26 222 52 35 2540 .298 .302 .654 132 44 78
CHN 2399 5587 716 1496 677 .223 271 46 166 121 49 2357 .324 .319 .715 135 37 84
CIN 2335 5515 749 1419 718 .191 291 12 217 124 33 2385 .328 .298 .672 122 38 66
COL 2306 5562 813 1504 761 .204 325 54 157 85 50 2408 .350 .320 .753 119 45 119
FLO 2354 5502 758 1454 713 .208 309 42 182 110 58 2393 .309 .299 .650 109 42 76
HOU 2393 5521 735 1407 708 .168 275 27 174 79 36 2258 .323 .266 .679 123 46 100
LAN 2384 5628 820 1552 787 .222 307 58 153 128 49 2434 .349 .330 .721 140 48 66
MIL 2206 5433 730 1400 695 .164 301 20 180 71 37 2281 .287 .247 .593 134 53 58
NYN 2279 5558 834 1469 800 .159 323 41 200 146 35 2474 .316 .254 .607 114 47 77
PHI 2410 5687 865 1518 823 .174 294 41 216 92 25 2542 .299 .262 .602 115 44 57
PIT 2325 5558 691 1462 656 .178 286 17 141 68 23 2205 .311 .243 .594 153 49 62
SDN 2395 5576 731 1465 698 .232 298 38 161 123 31 2322 .398 .333 .792 128 47 59
SFN 2313 5472 746 1418 711 .228 297 52 163 58 25 2308 .330 .356 .742 137 37 80
SLN 2359 5522 781 1484 745 .223 292 27 184 59 32 2382 .347 .345 .747 129 40 71
WAS 2430 5495 746 1437 695 .189 322 22 164 123 62 2295 .363 .265 .706 119 49 76

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ARI 623 76 86 1460 1115 536 6341 1503 168 158.900 728 788 8 4 34 53 4
ATL 684 79 83 1441 1049 572 6350 1529 183 183.650 736 805 6 2 38 39 2
CHN 704 66 96 1439 1250 687 6366 1396 210 115.630 758 834 2 1 29 68 4
CIN 638 80 82 1446 1053 464 6319 1576 213 151.080 728 801 9 3 36 40 9
COL 661 76 86 1448 952 553 6318 1549 155 137.930 749 812 5 4 34 43 2
FLO 600 78 84 1432 1088 622 6294 1465 166 90.500 696 772 6 2 41 47 4
HOU 659 82 80 1469 1160 480 6219 1425 182 83.060 668 719 5 2 42 44 2
LAN 616 88 74 1461 1068 492 6289 1524 152 100.020 686 751 1 0 40 54 8
MIL 589 75 87 1425 1145 514 6210 1454 177 174.970 765 833 7 5 43 57 2
NYN 636 97 65 1461 1161 527 6240 1402 180 142.670 675 731 5 3 43 37 5
PHI 662 85 77 1457 1138 512 6366 1561 211 137.960 748 812 4 2 42 58 4
PIT 667 67 95 1435 1060 620 6354 1545 156 105.630 725 797 2 1 39 61 6
SDN 637 88 74 1462 1097 468 6175 1385 176 98.800 631 679 4 2 50 34 4
SFN 599 76 85 1428 992 584 6225 1422 153 115.550 737 790 7 3 37 50 7
SLN 630 83 78 1428 970 504 6196 1475 193 91.060 721 762 6 3 38 35 3
WAS 679 71 91 1436 960 584 6424 1535 193 167.240 803 872 1 1 32 47 10

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ARI 2613 7251 5353 1786 112 .972 17514 90 45 0 11
ATL 2771 7152 5407 1630 115 .979 17295 101 30 0 8
CHN 2753 6966 5358 1489 119 .965 17270 118 39 0 12
CIN 2688 7220 5438 1628 154 .981 17347 50 35 0 9
COL 2665 7324 5371 1848 105 .983 17369 99 42 0 8
FLO 2824 7095 5332 1609 154 .975 17197 69 46 0 14
HOU 2828 7255 5395 1768 92 .979 17627 78 28 1.00 7
LAN 2765 7333 5383 1813 137 .973 17525 110 38 0 7
MIL 2565 7026 5291 1600 135 .961 17107 97 31 0 3
NYN 2623 7237 5442 1676 119 .969 17532 111 40 1.00 10
PHI 2804 7229 5400 1714 115 .972 17521 94 35 0 11
PIT 2672 7192 5267 1809 116 .972 17218 102 52 0 16
SDN 2701 7215 5501 1607 107 .973 17562 150 26 0 11
SFN 2795 7114 5408 1600 106 .971 17153 98 40 0 5
SLN 2845 7200 5284 1792 124 .976 17154 63 32 0 8
WAS 2735 7194 5503 1530 161 .970 17235 110 30 0 11

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
San Diego Padres 88 74 2659757 1 1097
Los Angeles Dodgers 88 74 3758545 2 1068
Arizona Diamondbacks 76 86 2091685 4 1115
Colorado Rockies 76 86 2104362 4 952
San Francisco Giants 76 85 3130313 3 992

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 83 78 3407104 1 970
Houston Astros 82 80 3022763 2 1160
Cincinnati Reds 80 82 2134607 3 1053
Milwaukee Brewers 75 87 2335643 4 1145
Pittsburg Pirates 67 95 1861549 5 1060
Chicago Cubs 66 96 3123215 6 1250

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Mets 97 65 3379535 1 1161
Philadelphia Philies 85 77 2701815 2 1138
Atlanta Braves 79 83 2550524 3 1049
Florida Marlins 78 84 1164134 4 1088
Washington Nationals 71 91 2153056 5 960

Awards

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Tagged:
2006 NLCS, 2006 NLDS1, 2006 NLDS2, 2006 World Series, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Andruw Jones, Anibal Sanchez, Barry Bonds, Billy Wagner, Brandon Webb, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Chase Utley, Chris Young, Clay Hensley, David Wright, Freddy Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Jake Peavy, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Lance Berkman, New York Mets, Orlando Hernandez, Paul Lo Duca, Pedro Martinez, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, St. Louis Cardinals, Steve Trachsel, Tom Glavine, Trevor Hoffman, Woody Williams, Yadier Molina

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