Giants look to build momentum from 107-win year, West crown
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A year ago, the San Francisco Giants were fueled by doubts from outside the organization that they could contend in the talented NL West.
They will be on everyone’s radar now after winning a franchise-record 107 games and edging the rival Dodgers for a division crown on the season’s final day, only to lose to Los Angeles in a thrilling five-game first-round playoff series.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford and his teammates are determined to take that further: Adding another World Series title to the list is the top priority. The Giants had an every-other-year streak going in 2010, ‘12 and ’14.
“The goal is to be the last team standing, done it a couple of times before,“ Crawford said. ”That is our goal, that’s our mindset going into this year.”
San Francisco wound up 107-55 last year and held baseball’s best record for 125 days, making a dramatic turnaround from a 29-31 record in manager Gabe Kapler’s first season to dethrone eight-time reigning West champ L.A.
They open the 2022 season at home on April 8 against the Marlins.
Logan Webb shined on the big October stage.
He will take the ball on opening day at age 25.
Webb pitched the Giants past the Padres in the regular-season finale and went unbeaten after a May 5 loss at Colorado. The right-hander and two relievers shut out the Dodgers in a 4-0 Game 1 playoff win.
THE TWO BRANDONS
Crawford and Brandon Belt shined last season, but the Giants missed Belt’s bat and presence on the diamond during the playoffs. He broke his left thumb after being hit by a pitch while squaring to bunt Sept. 26 at Colorado.
Belt, who turns 34 on April 20, batted .274 with a career-high 29 homers and 59 RBIs. He signed an $18 million, one-year contract for 2022.
Keeping him on the field will always weigh on Kapler.
“That’s something we take very seriously, that I personally take very seriously,” he said. “… Keeping Brandon as healthy as possible and as confident as possible is probably our No. 1 goal.”
Crawford signed a $32 million, two-year contract in August. He batted .298 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs.
The Giants won’t try to duplicate their remarkable home run numbers from 2021, when they established a major league record with 18 pinch-hit home runs and cleared the fences 241 times in all.