2006: Soriano raises hopes, then reality sinks in
The acquisition of free agent Alfonso Soriano from the Texas Rangers raised hopes that the Nationals might do even better in 2006, but they lost nine of their first ten home games. They did much better from late May until the middle of June, including their first interleague series against the Orioles and the Yankees. The Nats prevailed in both series, with two dramatic comeback wins against the Yanks, including Ryan Zimmerman's first career walk-off home run. In late July they achieved consecutive sweeps at home against the Cubs and Giants, but could not hold the momentum. They managed a winning record in September, but the loss of the final three games to the Mets provided a fitting end to a disappointing season.
| CF: Marlon Byrd .223
|LF: Alfonso Soriano * .277||RF: Jose Guillen .216
Austin Kearns *
|SS: Royce Clayton * .269
|2B: Jose Vidro .289|
|3B: Ryan Zimmerman * .287||1B: Nick Johnson .290|
|Batting average for position players, ERA for pitchers.
Manager: Frank Robinson
|C: Brian Schneider .256||* (asterisk): new player|
- Apr. 21 -- Three home runs by Alfonso Soriano help beat the Braves, 7-3.
- May 3 -- The Nationals franchise is sold (for $450m) to the Lerner family.
- May 13 -- Braves win 8-5 on Jeff Francouer's bottom of the 9th grand slam.
- June 17 -- Nats erase 7-run deficit and beat Yanks at home, 11-9.
- June 18 -- Nats beat Yanks 3-2 on Zimmerman's 2-run bottom of the 9th HR.
- July 3 -- Zimmerman HR; Nats beat DevilRays 6-2. (I was there!)
- July 6 -- Marlins beat Nats in D.C., 18-9.
- Aug. 15 -- Pedro Astacio pitches complete 2-hit game; Nats 5, Braves 0.
- Sept. 27 -- Phillies win 8-7 in 14 innings after Nats score in 9th, 10th & 14th.
- Sept. 30 -- Mets 13, Nats 0; Julio Franco (age 48!) homers. (I was there!)
- Oct. 1 -- Frank Robinson bids farewell to appreciative fans at RFK.
2006 memorable moments
"@" = away game
|Month||Wins||Losses||NL East place
SOURCE: My unofficial daily tabulations from MLB Gameday stats, Washington Post, and other newspapers.