On Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers kick off their postseason run in the National League Division Series against the New York Mets. The best-of-five series begins in Los Angeles with the Dodgers’ pair of aces toeing the hill at Dodger Stadium.
This marks the third time these two teams have met in the postseason. Let’s take a look at what happened in the first two.
Coming off their worst season since 1992, the Dodgers cleaned house, hiring Ned Colletti as general manager and Grady Little as manager, in effort to lead the team back into playoff contention.
The Dodgers, led by veterans such as Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe and even a dozen starts from Greg Maddux, also saw some prominent rookies make their debuts. Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Chad Billingsley all got their first taste of big league ball in ’06.
The mix of old and young led to 88 wins and a Wild Card berth, with the team heading to New York for their second postseason series in three years.
Game 1 set the tone for the series, as Lowe faced off against John Maine. With no score in the second inning, Kent and Drew hit back-to-back singles to put two on with no outs. Martin came to the plate and singled to right field.
Kent, already 38 years old, attempted to score from second but a good relay throw from Jose Valentin nailed him at the plate. For some reason, Drew was right on his heels, charging for home as well. Paul Lo Duca, infamously traded by the Dodgers the season prior, would first tag Kent, then Drew to record the rare 9-4-2 double play.
Marlon Anderson scored Martin with an RBI double, but the Mets took the lead a few innings later. The Dodgers attempted a late comeback, but fell a run short and dropped the opener, 6-5.
Game 2 pitted a pair of lefties against each other, with young fireballer Hong-Chih Kuo starting for the Dodgers and future Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine starting for the Mets. The crafty veteran would get the best of the Dodgers’ lineup, surrendering just four hits over six scoreless innings.
Kuo, who would later become a dominant reliever, lasted just 4.1 innings, making 85 pitches and surrendering a pair of runs before giving way to the bullpen. The Mets chipped away at the Dodgers’ pitching staff, piling up seven hits, all but one being for single, and scored on four runs by the sixth inning.
Los Angeles got one run back in the eighth, when Wilson Betemit hit a solo home run off of Aaron Heilman, but that would be all for the Dodgers, who dropped the second game, 4-1. The Dodgers headed home for Game 3 and handed the ball to Maddux.
Unfortunately, he wouldn’t have the same success as his former teammate, as the 40 year old issued a one-out walk followed by five straight singles in the first inning to put his team in an early 3-0 hole. Maddux lasted just three innings, surrendering four runs and recording no strike outs.
The Dodgers battled back in the fourth by loading the bases and receiving a two-run single from Loney. The following inning, Kent hit a two-run home run to tie the game before Loney drew a bases-loaded walk that gave the Dodgers a lead.
The lead was short-lived however, as Jonathan Broxton entered the sixth inning and allowed three runs, with New York going on to win the final game of the series, 9-5.
The Mets would lose in the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals, who went on to win the World Series that year.
CONTINUE READING: More Dodgers-Mets Postseason History