Giants become first in MLB to reach 100 wins, retain NL West against Dodgers

The San Francisco Giants became the first Major League Baseball team to record 100 wins this season Friday night, beating the Colorado Rockies by a 7-2 final (box score). The Giants had four hitters to pitch homers while four pitchers combined to pitch five scoreless innings in relief for starter Alex Wood.

This season marks the eighth 100-game winning campaign in Giants franchise history, although four of them occurred while located in New York City. The last time the Giants reached the milestone of the century was in 2003, when they were beaten in four games by the then-Florida Marlins in the National League Division Series. (The Marlins would win the World Series.)

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

No projection system (or human being) will succeed. And in some cases, no one will succeed on a particular team. PECOTA beat the Giants 75-87, a bar the team could cross in 30 games. Of course, the system has already had its faults; back then he still seemed to doubt the Showalter-era Orioles, and now he seems to have a lighter, but equally tenacious, suspicion of the Atlanta Braves. ZiPS matched our outlook with 75 wins, and FiveThirtyEight came in at 74. But in this case, it wasn’t just the computers that were missing. ESPN scored the Giants for 70-92; The Ringer ranked them 25th overall; USA Today guessed 76-86.

Nonetheless, the Giants have exceeded preseason expectations in a few ways. Their roster, full of players previously thought to be too old and outdated, has gone back in time to rank fourth among majors in wRC + (a measure adjusted to the park). Their pitching staff, made up of relatively nil, have the second best staff ERA in the game. Etc.

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

Only two other teams are realistic candidates to win 100 games this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers, just one game away from the Giants in the divisional race, could win their 100th on Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Tampa Bay Rays, meanwhile, will need to win five of their remaining eight games to secure the 100-game first season in franchise history.

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