10/01/06 9:00 PM ET
Dodgers monthly recap
By Lindsey Frazier / MLB.com
The Dodgers stumbled a bit out of the gate, as they lost four series in the opening month of the season. Los Angeles was a bit beat up from the onset of the season, placing five players on the disabled list just three games into the year. The team could have been distracted by the health of former closer Eric Gagne, who underwent his second surgery in 10 months to remove a sensory nerve in his right elbow in early April. Veteran infielders Nomar Garciaparra, Bill Mueller and Cesar Izturis were also out of pocket.
After dropping five straight games from April 30 to May 4, the Dodgers regrouped with a sweep of the Brewers over the first weekend in May. Los Angeles then went on to win 15 out of its next 21 contests, which included back-to-back sweeps of the Angels and Rockies at Dodger Stadium and a seven-game wining streak. Over that stretch, the Dodgers dropped only one series, and that came at the hands of the Nationals during the last weekend of the month. On May 19, the Dodgers set a club record for hits in a game with 25 against the Angels. The previous club mark was 24.
After a strong May showing, the Dodgers struggled throughout June, going 1-7 at one point. They almost salvaged the month with a sweep of Jim Tracy's Pirates, but they were swept by the Twins in the following series. One of the low points came on June 17, when the Dodgers fell in 18 innings, 5-4, to the Athletics. The team has not posted a winning record in June since 2003, when it went 14-11.
After a 5-4 start to July, things quickly fell apart for the Dodgers after the All-Star break, as they endured a 1-13 stretch that they would just as soon forget. During the drought, the Dodgers had both a five-game and an eight-game losing skid, and they were swept by the Cardinals and Padres while the Diamondbacks took two out of three. Things got so bad that the players held a closed-clubhouse meeting on July 22 to discuss the struggles. Los Angeles capped off the month with a sweep of the Nationals.
After a mediocre June and miserable July, the Dodgers finally heated things up again come August. Los Angeles started out the month on the right foot, reeling off eight straight wins. The Dodgers went on to win 17 out of 19 contests through Aug. 20. The Padres managed to cool them off somewhat with a four-game sweep, but the Dodgers rebounded by taking a series against the D-Backs and sweeping the Reds to close out the month. On Aug. 29, the Dodgers withstood a 16-inning battle with the Reds, ultimately coming out on top, as Ramon Martinez hit a walk-off home run to win it, 6-5.
The Dodgers were spotty again throughout most of September, but they were able to string together six straight wins to close the month. The Brewers and the Cubs, who were both well under the .500 mark, managed to take two out of three from the Dodgers on the road, and the Dodgers' slump allowed the resurgent Padres to get back into the National League West race. The moment that stands out this month was Los Angeles' dramatic victory over San Diego on Sept. 18, which saw the Dodgers club seven home runs and overcome two four-run deficits to win, 11-10, in 10 innings. Four of the home runs were in succession in the bottom of the ninth, and a two-run, walk-off shot came in the 10th by the unlikely Garciaparra in what was considered one of the greatest performances by an injured player since Kirk Gibson won Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The Dodgers won their only regular-season game in October to finish with the same record as the Padres, who won the NL West because of a winning head-to-head record against Los Angeles.
Lindsey Frazier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.