In 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to improve their record from 2005. The team switched General Managers from Paul DePodesta to Ned Colletti, and hired Grady Little as the new manager. The Dodgers were able to win 88 games. In the National League Western Division, the Dodgers won the wild card, but in the first round of the playoffs lost in three straight games against the Mets. This is also their first season to be broadcast on KCAL-TV (9).
|2006 Los Angeles Dodgers|
|NL Wild Card|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Ned Colletti|
|Local television||Fox Sports Prime Ticket; KCAL-TV (9) |
Vin Scully, Charley Steiner, Steve Lyons
|Local radio||KFWB |
Vin Scully, Rick Monday, Charley Steiner, Jerry Reuss
Jaime Jarrín, Pepe Yñiguez, Fernando Valenzuela
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|San Diego Padres||88||74||0.543||—||43–38||45–36|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||88||74||0.543||—||49–32||39–42|
|San Francisco Giants||76||85||0.472||11½||43–38||33–47|
2006 National League Records
|Bold||Dodgers team member|
|2006 game log|
After a season battling injuries to team leaders Jeff Kent and all-star Nomar Garciaparra, the Dodgers were able to produce with several young rookies such as Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and Jonathan Broxton. Key reliever Yhency Brazobán was sidelined with Tommy John surgery, and closer Éric Gagné was sidelined with a back injury. However, rookie pitcher Takashi Saito took over the closing role and instantly became one of the game's best closers, ending the season with 24 saves in just half of the season.
Los Angeles had a very streaky season in 2006. After they started just 12–17, the Dodgers went on to win 15 of their next 18 games to improve to 27-20. They were 46-42 at the all-star break, two games back of the San Diego Padres in a tough division (all five teams in the N.L. West were .500 or better at the all-star break). Two Dodger players, Nomar Garciaparra, and Brad Penny, were selected to play in the All-Star Game.
After the all-star break, the Dodgers lost 13 of their first 14 games. As a result, their record dropped to 47–55, and they were in last place in the N.L. West, 7½ games out of first place. Los Angeles would bounce back from this losing streak to win 17 out of their next 18 games, the first time the Dodgers did so since 1899. At the end of this winning stretch, Los Angeles was in first place with a record of 64–56. During this stretch, the Dodgers acquired Wilson Betemit from the Atlanta Braves, Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and pitcher Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs. Maddux proved to be the biggest transition for the Dodgers, as he provided the Dodgers' starting rotation with a veteran arm and pitching depth.
The highlight of the 2006 season for Los Angeles was on September 18, against the San Diego Padres. Coming into the four-game series, Los Angeles held a half game lead in the N.L. West over San Diego with two and a half weeks left in the season. Los Angeles won the first game of the series 3–1 after a strong pitching performance by Maddux, extending the Dodgers' lead to a 1½ games over San Diego. The second game of the series was an 11–2 rout in favor of San Diego, trimming the Dodgers lead back to a half game. The third game of the series was a pitchers' duel between San Diego's Chris Young and the Dodgers Derek Lowe. San Diego scored first after Russell Branyan hit a solo home run to make it 1-0. Russell Martin tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run of his own in the 7th. But San Diego won the game 2-1 when Khalil Greene scored on Terrmel Sledge's single. San Diego's victory gave them a half game lead over the Dodgers in the N.L. West.
The last game of the series on September 18 was a rocky start for the Dodgers. Brad Penny gave up four runs in the first inning, giving San Diego a 4-0 lead. Los Angeles slowly climbed back into the game, and tied the score 4-4 in the third inning. Neither team scored again until San Diego scored two in the top of the 8th to take a 6-4 lead. The Dodgers would cut San Diego's lead to one run after Wilson Betemit drove in Marlon Anderson with an RBI single. San Diego scored three runs in the top of the 9th and appeared to have broken the game wide open with a 9-5 lead. With a four-run lead, San Diego elected to bring in Jon Adkins to pitch the 9th instead of closer Trevor Hoffman, who at the time was just three saves shy of tying the all-time record. Jeff Kent and J. D. Drew hit back-to-back home runs off of Adkins to close the lead to 9–7 with nobody out. San Diego then elected to bring Hoffman in to finish the game. Hoffman however, gave up back-to-back home runs to Martin and Anderson on the first two pitches Hoffman threw, tying the score at 9–9. It was only the fourth time a team hit four consecutive home runs in an inning, and the first time since the Minnesota Twins did so in 1964. San Diego scored a run in the top of the 10th on Josh Bard's RBI single to take a 10-9 lead. But after Kenny Lofton walked, Nomar Garciaparra hit the game-winning two-run walk off home run. The Dodgers' 11–10 victory gave them a half game lead over San Diego with just two weeks left in the season.
San Diego and Los Angeles finished the season tied for first place in the N.L. West at 88–74. San Diego however, was awarded the division title because they had won 13 of 18 games from Los Angeles during the regular season, giving the Dodgers the wild card spot.
|Opening Day Starters|
|José Cruz, Jr.||Left fielder|
|J. D. Drew||Right fielder|
|Jeff Kent||Second baseman|
|Olmedo Sáenz||First baseman|
|Bill Mueller||Third baseman|
|Sandy Alomar, Jr.||Catcher|
|Jason Repko||Center fielder|
|Derek Lowe||Starting pitcher|
|2006 Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Jae Weong Seo||19||10||67.0||2-4||5.78||25||49||0|
|Sandy Alomar, Jr.||C||27||62||.323||3||20||0||9||0|
|J. D. Drew||RF||146||494||.283||84||140||20||100||2|
|José Cruz, Jr.||LF/RF/CF||86||223||.233||34||52||5||5|
Upon entering the playoffs, they were swept at Shea Stadium. Reliever Joe Beimel cut his hand on glass at a bar while drinking. Beimel told his teammates, he did it in his hotel room but then later revealed the truth. Beimel was sidelined during all of the Division Series.
|WP: Guillermo Mota (1-0) LP: Brad Penny (0-1) Sv: Billy Wagner (1)|
NYM: Carlos Delgado (1), Cliff Floyd (1)
Shea Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York
|WP: Tom Glavine (1-0) LP: Hong-Chih Kuo (0-1) Sv: Billy Wagner (2)|
LAD: Wilson Betemit (1)
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
|WP: Pedro Feliciano (1-0) LP: Jonathan Broxton (0-1)|
LAD: Jeff Kent (1)
|AAA||Las Vegas 51s||Pacific Coast League||Jerry Royster|
|AA||Jacksonville Suns||Southern League||John Shoemaker|
|High A||Vero Beach Dodgers||Florida State League||Luis Salazar|
|A||Columbus Catfish||South Atlantic League||Travis Barbary|
|Rookie||Ogden Raptors||Pioneer League||Lance Parrish|
|Rookie||Gulf Coast Dodgers||Gulf Coast League||Juan Bustabad|
|Rookie||DSL Dodgers||Dominican Summer League|
The Dodgers selected 50 players in this draft. Of those, seven of them would eventually play Major League baseball. The Dodgers gained an extra first round pick and a supplemental first round pick as a result of losing pitcher Jeff Weaver to the Angels. They also lost their second and third round picks as a result of their signing free agents Rafael Furcal and Bill Mueller.
The top draft pick was left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw from Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas. Kershaw would win the 2014 NL MVP Award as well as multiple Cy Young Awards. He also pitched a no-hitter and led the league in ERA for four straight seasons.
The other first round picks were right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris from Motlow State Community College and shortstop Preston Mattingly from Central High School. Morris was part of the Dodgers 2008 trade for Manny Ramirez and eventually made it to the Majors. Mattingly, the son of All-Star first baseman and later Dodgers manager Don Mattingly never panned out. He hit just .232 in 463 minor league games over six seasons before he was eventually released.
|2006 Draft Picks|
2006 MLB season by team
|Hall of Fame|
|Division titles (17)|
|Wild card berths (2)|
|Minor league affiliates|