The Cardinals finished the season 83-78 and won the National League Central Division title, their third consecutive playoff berth.
Final MLB standings
Record vs. San Diego
San Diego won the season series, 4-2, taking two out of three at PETCO Park in late May and then also winning a three-game set in the regular season's last week. Five of the six games hinged on an incredible play or a late lead change. Offensively, the Cardinals often had trouble with Padres starters not named Jake Peavy.
Clay Hensley and Chris Young each threw very well against the Cardinals. The two series were also highlighted by some defining moments: Yadier Molina's pickoff of Brian Giles and Albert Pujols' three-run homer in the last week of the season.
Record vs. playoff teams
Against the Mets, the Cardinals finished 2-4. They were 2-4 against the Padres and a perfect 7-0 against the Dodgers.
Record vs. winning teams
With the exception of the Dodgers, the Cardinals struggled mightily against winning teams. Overall, the Redbirds finished with a 21-26 record (.447) against teams above .500. Seven of those victories came against L.A. They also had problems in Interleague Play, dropping six straight road games against the White Sox and Tigers.
Overall, the Cardinals offense was a little worse than 2005's 100-win team. This year's version hit for about the same average (.269 to .270) and actually hit more homers. The 2006 Cards, though, suffered from poor situational hitting. A year after batting .291 with runners in scoring position, the Cardinals batted just .273. Pujols did have an incredible year, scorching pitching for a .398 RISP average.
Pujols was the Cardinals' main offensive force. El Hombre made a strong case for his second straight MVP Award, leading his team in several different categories, including average (.331), homers (47), RBIs (133) and walks (90).
MLB hitting stats
Scott Rolen came back from an injury-plagued 2005, driving in 93 runs. David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds and Molina all experienced subpar years. Rookie Chris Duncan provided power and patience in left field and the No. 2 spot, hitting 21 homers and batting nearly .300.
Cardinals hitting stats
This was the weakness. A year after posting a league-best 3.49 ERA, the staff's mark rose over a full point to 4.52, the team's highest since 2003. Starting pitching was the main problem, posting a 4.72 ERA.
MLB pitching stats
It could have been a lot higher, but Carpenter built a strong resume for his second straight NL Cy Young Award, winning 15 games and posting a 3.09 ERA. After a dismal first half, Suppan emerged as one of baseball's best after the midseason break, posting a 2.37 ERA.
Cardinals pitching stats
The Cardinals still featured one of the NL's top defenses.
MLB fielding stats
Led by Rolen, Pujols and Molina, the Redbirds finished fifth in the league for fielding percentage (.984), fourth in double plays (168) and sixth in defensive efficiency (.711). Helped by Molina's strong arm, the team allowed the second-fewest steals of any NL team (62).
Cardinals fielding stats
Chris Carpenter (3 G, 21 IP, 2-0, 2.14 ERA)
Jason Marquis (9 G, 21 2/3 IP, 0-2, 4.59 ERA)
Jeff Suppan (5 G, 28 2/3 IP, 2-2, 3.45 ERA)
Jorge Sosa (1 G, 6 IP, 0-1, 4.50 ERA)
Jeff Weaver (4 G, 8 1/3 IP, 0-2, 9.72 ERA)
Braden Looper (8 G, 7 IP, 2-0, 5.14 ERA)
Brad Thompson ( 4 G, 2 1/3 IP, 0-0, 7.71 ERA)
Randy Flores (5 G, 3 1/3 IP, 0-0, 2.70 ERA)
Juan Encarnacion (15 G, .184, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
Albert Pujols (37 G, .336, 10 HR, 29 RBI)
Scott Rolen (17 G, .190, 4 HR, 9 RBI)
David Eckstein (28 G, .292, HR, 9 RBI)
Yadier Molina (13 G, .262, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
Jim Edmonds (45 G, .286, 11 HR, 32 RBI)
So Taguchi (15 G, .077, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
Scott Spiezio (16 G, .327, 3 HR, 19 RBI)
John Rodríguez (6 G, .000, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
Jose Vizcaino (37 G, .221, 0 HR, 7 RBI)
2006 stats vs. San Diego
Pujols, Aaron Miles and Eckstein were the main offensive threats against the Padres. Pujols and Miles each hit .333, while Eckstein batted .417 in 12 at-bats.
Cardinals Starters Against Jake Peavy:
Jose Vizcaino .400 (6-for-15), HR, 2 RBIs
Juan Encarnacion .286 (4-for-14) HR, 2 RBIs
Preston Wilson .167 (2-for-12) 0 HR, 2 RBIs
Albert Pujols .500 (6-for-12) 2 HR, 6 RBIs
Jim Edmonds .200 (2-for-10), HR, 2 RBIs
Scott Rolen .111 (1-for-9), 0 HR, 0 RBI
Aaron Miles .375 (3-for-8) 0 HR, 0 RBI
David Eckstein .286 (2-for-8), 0 HR, 1 RBI
Yadier Molina .167 (1-for-6), 0 HR, 0 RBI
Gary Bennett .000 (0-for-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI
Ronnie Belliard .200 (1-for-5), 0 HR, 1 RBI
John Rodriguez .200 (1-for-5), 0 HR, 1 RBI
So Taguchi .000 (1-for-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI
Carpenter (7.71 ERA) and Suppan (10.24 ERA) didn't fare well against San Diego.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.