Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Francisco Liriano Throws Ugly No-Hitter

Coming into last night's game with the Chicago White Sox, the Twins had lost six in a row and their supposed ace, Francisco Liriano, had a 1-4 record to go along with a horrendous 9.13 ERA.  Tuesday night may have helped both Minnesota and Liriano get back on track.  While it wasn't pretty by any means, Liriano hurled the first no-hitter of the 2011 season against the White Sox last night in a 1-0 victory by the Twins.  The Twins and White Sox were supposed to be the two best teams in the AL Central this season, but the Twins have a record of 10-18 and the White Sox have dropped 16 of the their 20 (overall record of 11-20).

Obviously, a no-hitter is always impressive, but compared to the no-hitters thrown in the big leagues last season Liriano's seemed almost mediocre.  Based on Bill James' Game Score, which measures and sums different part's of a pitcher's performance into a single number, Liriano only scored an 83, which ties the Pirates' Lefty Chambers for the lowest Game Score in a no-no of the 170 thrown since 1919.  Liriano threw 123 pitches on Tuesday night, with only 66 of those pitches going for strikes.  He walked six while only striking out two in his first career complete game.  Liriano became the first pitcher since Jerry Ruess in 1980 to strike out two hitters or fewer in a no-hitter.  He threw 39 pitches from the stretch and needed double-plays to get out of three innings.  It was definitely one of the weirdest no-hitters ever thrown in the Major Leagues, but hey, a no-hitter is still a no-hitter.


  1. Love the post. Thoughts on why Liriano is struggling this season? How about the team's offensive woes?

  2. Gordon, I must say that I am pretty surprised at how the Twins have started out the year. In terms of offense, they have shown absolutely no power (ranking last in the bigs)and they have the third worst average in the bigs too. The Twins are only hitting .237 with RISP and they are even worse with no one on base, hitting .205. Their key guys in the lineup aren't performing well at all. Mauer is out and Morneau hasn't been the same since his concussion problems. Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Jim Thome, and Danny Valencia are all hitting under .230. The only guys performing well are Kubel and Span.

    In terms of Liriano, its all about control. Batters are only hitting .225 off him this season, which isn't bad at all. However, in 32.2 innings this season, Liriano has walked 24 guys, which equates to an abysmal 6.6 BB/9 innings. He also is striking out fewer per 9 than he ever has (5.5 K/9). Anytime you give teams that many free passes, it's hard to get out of innings unscathed.

  3. Thanks for the insight, I didn't realize he had an OPP BA of .225. Death by free pass is right.