Giants' 100 wins are 'big deal,' but eyes are on bigger prize

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100 wins a 'big deal,' but Giants have eyes on bigger prize originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

DENVER -- The Giants have just about every kind of career covered in their clubhouse. They have three-time World Series champions, players who toiled in Triple-A for years, former top prospects, guys who had to find their games in foreign leagues, rookies, and just about everything in between.

But up until Friday, they did not have a lot of players who had experienced 100 wins. 

Kris Bryant and Tommy La Stella won 103 games with the 2016 Cubs, and LaMonte Wade Jr. was briefly part of the Twins' "Bomba Squad" that powered its way to 101 in 2019. The player with the most experience with this type of success is Alex Wood, who was part of the five division champions in Los Angeles. 

Wood started Friday's game for the Giants, a 7-2 win over the Rockies that got the Giants to the century mark for the first time since 2003, and afterward he joined others in talking about how cool it was to hit the milestone and be the first MLB team to do it this year. He also made sure it was clear the Giants have much bigger goals.

"I don't want to take anything away from us winning 100 games and 100-plus games, hopefully, but it's one of those things where when the season is finished I hope we really don't remember how many wins we've got, if that makes sense," Wood said. 

Wood knows all about how a regular season mark is forgotten if you don't seal the deal in October. He was an All-Star on the 104-win Dodger team in 2017, but that group lost to the sign-swiping Houston Astros in the World Series. Asked Friday if he remembered how many wins that 2017 Dodgers team had, Wood wasn't sure.

"I don't. I don't. 105 maybe?" Wood said. "Case in point right there. We've got bigger fish to fry. It's a great accomplishment, but we're looking for more, for sure."

The Giants did not exactly set out to win 100 games this season, but they almost made it mandatory during meetings in March. The clubhouse talked often of shocking the Dodgers and Padres and winning the NL West, and given how talented those two rosters were heading into April, it seemed pretty clear that it would take 100 wins to win the division. 

The Giants were not expected to be the first team to hit the tape, but that's what they've done all season. They were the first MLB team to 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 wins, and while they have focused forward all season long, they did take a moment Friday to appreciate what they just accomplished. 

"It's a big deal," manager Gabe Kapler said. "When I think about the accomplishment of getting to 100 wins tonight, I think about all the different ways we got there. There have been so many contributors to getting to this point, and I don't want to lose sight of the fact that we have a lot of work ahead of us because we've got to be on our game every single night, but it is a good point to reflect on what we've accomplished and how many different players and staff and people in the organization contributed to getting to that milestone."

Kapler shouted out two in particular Friday: rookie relievers Camilo Doval and Kervin Castro. They combined for three scoreless innings in the 100th win, with Doval getting the final three outs. At 24 years old, he was leading the handshake line for a milestone victory. Castro, 22, was right there as well.

The two might look back on their careers 20 years from now and realize how rare a season like this actually is. They have joined a team that for a decade has been led by Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, but none of those three had ever won more than 94 games before this season. 

Crawford, who hit one of four Giants homers, called the accomplishment "pretty crazy," but added that he also wasn't surprised. 

"We've played really good baseball all year, between the pitching, between the power we've shown at the plate, and we've played pretty good defense all year," he said. "I feel like we're a really well-rounded team and I feel like we could win eight more, honestly."

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That would be running the table, and it would secure an NL West title, along with the most wins in franchise history. It seems impossible, but then again, at one point so did 100 wins. 

"Obviously in spring training everybody was talking about -- and rightfully so -- the Dodgers and the Padres and the talent they had acquired, both through player development but also through trades and through free agency, but I think we also knew that we were a talented group," Kapler said. "Our veteran players set the tone and said the goal was to win the division. It wasn't to sneak into the playoffs, and I think that goal remains to this day, obviously.

"I don't think that anybody sets out to get to 100 (wins) but it's certainly an indication that we've done good work along the way and that we're continuing to grind."

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