CLEVELAND: As Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor sat next to each another while speaking with reporters after Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins, the victory that secured a 100-win season, only one of them had ever experienced what it was like to be on the other end of a year like that.

Kipnis, in his seventh season in the major leagues, experienced losing seasons in 2011 and 2012, the first two after breaking through to the big leagues. The 2012 season was especially harsh. The Indians limped to a 68-94 record and then fired manager Manny Acta with six games left.

Fast-forward five years and the Indians of 2017 have secured only the third 100-win season in franchise history on the heels of a run to the World Series in 2016. Only seven other teams have reached 100 wins in the past 12 years.

It wasn’t always like this and Kipnis has been around long enough to know it first hand.

“This is one of those teams where no matter what you do, it feels like you’re going to win because there’s just that kind of camaraderie here, that kind of special thing we’ve got going on where we can get down early, we can get down late, where no matter what, as long as we’ve still got some outs in us, we feel like we’re still going to win the game,” Kipnis said. “And that’s the mark of a winning team.”

Lindor, an American League Most Valuable Player candidate in only his third season, will have to take Kipnis’ word for it. The Indians went 81-80 his rookie year and then won 94 games last season before their World Series run. Kipnis would rather leave that in the past than remind Lindor.

“No, because I don’t want him to ever experience that,” Kipnis said. “I want him to get used to winning and have that be the only kind of atmosphere we’ve got going around here, but he is lucky enough to not … you hear about guys that play all their careers and not get into the playoffs, never be on a winning team or 100 games. That’s definitely hard, but as good of player as he is, there’s reasons that his teams are going to do better than other ones, and that’s kind of the guys that we’ve got in here. Hopefully, those seasons are behind us.”

Lindor mostly just smiled and laughed. He respected the 100-win accomplishment but repeated the same company line that he and others maintained during the 22-game winning streak. It’s nice, but it’s not the end objective.

“It’s something special for all of us,” Lindor said. “It’s a big accomplishment, but we all understand that’s not our goal. Our goal was to make it to the playoffs. And then once we’re in the playoffs, go as deep as we can in the playoffs. It’s fun. Winning a lot of games. That’s at least 100 days in the season that we’re playing music. But that’s not our goal. It’s something amazing, special. It will be there for a long time. We’re just enjoying it and focusing on our daily job. Which is to win.”

The 2017 season has already become one to remember for the Indians, a team that pulled off arguably the greatest 22-game stretch in baseball history. A 100-win season can now be crossed off the to-do list. It’s a solid accomplishment for any team, even if the only objective that matters is the one at the top of the page: winning the one game the Indians didn’t win a year ago.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com.