Francisco Liriano no-hits those no-hit White Sox
Now that's a low scoring game we can live with.
Last night, Francisco Liriano threw the first no-hitter of the 2011 season against the woeful Chicago White Sox.
Considering that the Twins have the worst pitching in baseball, this is quite a feat. When you take into account that Liriano entered the game with a 9.13 ERA it boggles the mind. Dude's never thrown a complete game, never tossed a shut out.
"I can't explain my feeling right now," he said. Neither can I.
This was one of those series where you say to yourself, "well, somebody's got to win." And the Twins did, 1-0, in the fashion of a hobo king--regal but smelling a bit ripe. This no-no was not without its bumps, bruises, and black eyes.
For starters, the Twins scored only once, off Jason Kubel's fourth inning blast to right field. As of this writing, the Beastie Boys' number one fan is second in the league in BA, clocking in a .350/.400/.530 line with 3 homers and 11 RBI.
Without that home run, we're in extra innings, and there's no way Liriano was going much farther, having thrown 123 pitches by the end of the ninth.
Now, the wags in Chicago will diminish this feat by arguing that their Sox are a light hitting club, which is true. ESPN's Doug Padilla, who writes a White Sox blog, said, "It only seemed as if it couldn't get any worse for the White Sox, who entered the game batting .210 over their last 21 games. So it shouldn't come as a complete shock that they were held without a hit Tuesday."
Well, not everyone can be Roy Halliday, Mr. Padilla. Yes, Liriano walked six batters, and yes, of the 123 pitches he threw, only 66 were for strikes. As usual, he got behind a lot, throwing only 11 first pitch strikes. That's means he threw a ton of bad pitches.
To a degree, the White Sox' Edwin Jackson threw a better game, giving up one run, and scattering six hits and one walk. He got ahead in the count 16 times on 29 batters faced.
(Oddly enough, Liriano and Jackson are joined at the hip statistically, being two of only five pitchers in the last two decades to toss a 1-0 no hitter. ESPN stat heads are working hard, so I don't have to.)
At least the Twins didn't make any errors, though they almost threw it away in the ninth. Matt Tolbert scooped up a grounder by the Sox's Brent Morel, only to fire it across the diamond and in the dirt. Justin Morneau caught it on the first hop to beat Morel and save the no-no.
"I thought it was a base hit," an exhausted Liriano admitted.
For the Sox, it's been just under twenty years since they were no hit--August 26, 1991 against the Royals' Bret Saberhagen. This was back when the Royals were a legitimately good club.
Myself, I love sloppy no hitters. In fact, tonight's no-no reminds me of another, from years back. The league doesn't test for LSD, does it?
Whatever the influence, nice work Mr. Liriano.
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