Mike Piazza Was One of The Future Hall of Famers To Lead the Last Padres Team To the Postseason
While now watching them over his shoulder, he is also looking back at that team he played for fourteen years ago. Manager Brian Roberts, who once again has led his Dodgers to the National League West championship, has been recently reminded of the team directly behind them.
The Padres, in spite of finishing behind the Dodgers, have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006. Their leadoff hitter back then was none other than Brian Roberts, who had a quite impressive lineup behind him.
Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza anchored the heart of the order, along with another former Dodger in Adrian Gonzalez. Another Hall of Famer led the pitching staff, closer Trevor Hoffman.
Overseeing the club was a future Hall of Fame manager, Bruce Bochy, who would later lead the San Francisco Giants to three World Series titles in a span of six years. With a Hall of Fame slugger, a Hall of Fame closer, and a future Hall of Fame skipper, it is no wonder the Padres reached the postseason in 2006.
Their journey there, however, was far from easy. San Diego was four games behind the Dodgers as late as September 4, when Jake Peavey beat the Reds 7-1. After that victory, the Padres went on a tear by winning five straight. The streak included a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, which cut the lead down to just one game.
A week later the Padres began another winning streak, this time extending to six games. During that stretch, which included a sweep of the Pirates, San Diego took over first and increased its lead in the National League West.
On the final weekend the Dodgers were able to tie the Padres, causing both clubs to finish at 88-74. Because San Diego had dominated Los Angeles by winning 13 of the 18 face to face contests, the Padres claimed the division championship.
They went on to meet St. Louis in the NLDS, while the Dodgers flew to Shea Stadium to take on the Mets. The Padres and the Dodgers, who had finished with the exact same record, were both eliminated during that initial round.
Sixteen years later, those two clubs are again one and two in the West. Now, however, it is the Dodgers who claim first place, leaving the Padres as runner-up.
Just as the positions in the standings are reversed, each club is hoping its fortunes in the playoffs will be as well.