Remembering Mets History: (2006) NL Eastern Champs Start Season With An Opening Day Win

Monday, April 3rd 2006: After a solid 2005 season where the Mets finished 83-79 in third place. They had a busy off season that brought in closer Billy Wagner, slugger Carlos Delgado, catcher Paul LoDuca, second baseman Jose Valentin & outfielder Xavier Nady.

Gone were Mike Cameron, Braden Looper, Kris & Anna Benson, as one of the greatest all time Mets players; Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza. A new era of Mets baseball was beginning.

Piazza was aging & nearing the end of his career. The Mets were certainly heading into a new direction & many people were already picking them to win the NL pennant.

54,371 excited Mets fans came to a cloudy, rainy Shea to welcome in a new season. Mets Legend Jesse Orosco threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Hall of Famer Gary Carter. This season marked the 20th Anniversary of the 1986 Championship Mets team.

Willie Randolph's Mets, took on Frank Robinson's Washington Nationals. The Nationals sent Livan Hernandez to the mound against Tom Glavine.

Starting Lineups

In the bottom of the 3rd, Xavier Nady led off with a base hit & advanced to second on a ground out. Tom Glavine then singled to right field putting runners on the corners. 

After Jose Reyes lined out, for the second out, Paul Loduca drove a single up the middle bringing in the first run, 1-0 Mets.

In the top of the 4th for the Nats, a Royce Clayton sac fly brought in Nick Johnson to tie the game.

In the home 4th, Cliff Floyd drew a two out walk. Then, Xavier Nady lined a shot to left field, that got by Alfonso Soriano. Floyd came around to score giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

In the 6th inning, David Wright added a solo HR making it 3-1.

Tom Glavine gave the Mets six innings, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out five & walked three. The Nationals added a run in the 7th, after three straight singles off reliever, Aaron Heilman. Heilman would allow that one run & five hits in two innings of work. 

It set the stage for the teams new closer, Billy Wagner to come in & earn his first Mets save.

The game ended as Jose Vidro was thrown out at second base, by Carlos Betran, trying to extend a single into a double.

X: Xavier Nady had a great debut, collecting four hits with an RBI. David Wright, Tom Glavine & Paul Loduca all had two hits each. In 75 games with the Mets in 2006, Nady would hit 14 HRs with 40 RBIs, batting .264. 

On July 31st, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez was needed after Duaner Sanchez went down for the year after getting injured in a Miami car accident.

2006 Sluggers: Carlos Beltran would have arguably his best season 41 HRs 116 RBIs & bat .275. David Wright would bat .311 with 26 HRs & 116 RBIs. Carlos Delgado would hit 38 HRs with 114 RBIs & bat .265.

The Mets would go on to take the NL East in 2006, winning 97 games (97-65). It was their first playoff appearance since 2000, six seasons prior. They would sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS but lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven game NLCS.


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