Giants become first in MLB to reach 100 wins, hold onto NL West over Dodgers

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The San Francisco Giants became Major League Baseball’s first team to record 100 wins this season on Friday night, knocking off the Colorado Rockies by a 7-2 final (box score). The Giants had four hitters launch home runs while four pitchers combined to throw five scoreless innings in relief of starter Alex Wood.

This season marks the eighth 100-win campaign in Giants franchise history, though four of those occurred when they were located in New York. The last time the Giants cleared the century mark was in 2003, when they were downed in four games by the then-Florida Marlins in the National League Division Series. (The Marlins would go on to win the World Series.)

As Baseball Prospectus author Patrick Dubuque noted on Friday, no one foresaw this Giants team performing at such an elite level:

No projection system (or human being) is going to get them all right. And in some cases, no one is going to get a particular team right. PECOTA tabbed the Giants for a 75-87 record, a bar that the team may clear by 30 games. Sure, the system has had its faults before; back in the day, it always seemed to doubt the Showalter-era Orioles, and now it seems to have a slighter, but equally tenacious, suspicion of the Atlanta Braves. ZiPS matched our outlook with 75 wins, and FiveThirtyEight arrived at 74. But in this case, it wasn’t just the computers that missed. ESPN tabbed the Giants for 70-92; The Ringer ranked them 25th overall; USA Today guessed 76-86.

Nevertheless, the Giants have outpaced preseason expectations through a few means. Their lineup, full of players previously thought to be too old and past their primes, have turned back the clock to rank fourth in the majors in wRC+ (a park-adjusted measure). Their pitching staff, composed of relative nobodies, has the second-best staff ERA in the game. And so on. 

Whether or not the Giants’ methodology proves repeatable in future seasons is anyone’s guess, but that aspect of San Francisco’s success doesn’t matter at present. Rather, what matters right now is that they maintain their lead in the National League West, thereby avoiding a Wild Card Game matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals (another team currently defying expectations). The Giants would seem positioned to do just that, as their schedule calls for five games against the lowly Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks and then three against the sliding San Diego Padres.

Just two other teams are realistic candidates to win 100 games this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers, only a game behind the Giants in the division race, could win their 100th as soon as Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Tampa Bay Rays, meanwhile, will have to win five of their eight remaining games in order to notch the first 100-victory season in franchise history.

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