Talk about night and day.
It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was down right ugly. Either way, Francisco Liriano tossed the seventh no-hitter in Minnesota franchise history Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The 1-0 victory, thanks in part to a fourth-inning solo shot off the bat of Jason Kubel, marked the fifth no-hitter for the Twins and the first of the 2011 baseball season.
Don't beat yourself up too bad. The fact you decided against starting Liriano on your fantasy team Tuesday (if you haven't dropped him yet) may be a good thing after all.
Hanging onto his starting job by the skin of his teeth, Liriano more or less sucked his way through this outing. Of the 123 pitches he threw, just 66 were strikes, with two punch-outs. The one troubling number from his line was six: the amount of batters he walked. How a guy can walk six and still manage a no-no is beyond me. I'm impressed.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take anything away from his obvious feat, but holy crap was he bad. On the other hand, there is no such thing as an unimpressive no-hitter. If it was an easy task, there would be more than 248 of them thrown in the history of the game. The fact still remains while several balls were scalded around the field, none escaped an out.
So this begs the question no one is comfortable asking after such an accomplishment: does Frankie still belong in the rotation? This victory, the first time Twins fans have enjoyed a no-hitter since Eric Milton dusted the Anaheim Angels in 1999, may indeed have saved his job, at least for now.
After a terrible month of April in which Liriano went 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA, his 4-0 start at this time last season was a distant memory. Regardless of how he struggled through it though, maybe the outcome of Tuesday night's contest combined with how incredible it must feel to toss a no-hitter (and slim his ERA down to 6.61) will give the slumping lefty some much-needed motivation. Maybe the team will follow suit and go from one extreme to the next as well? Having more wins than any one of the 29 other teams in Major League Baseball would be a good place to start.
Now onto the next order of business: for the Twins to get healthy and stop sucking at baseball.
Here are some reactions from around the Twins blogosphere:
Francisco Liriano Throws a No-Hitter! [Puckett's Pond]
The First Step [Twinscentric]
Fabulous Francisco. Totally fabulous. [A Fan's View]
The Legend of LiraNoNo. [Over the Baggy]
Liriano's No-Hitter Out-Edwin Jacksoned Edwin Jackson. [Twinkie Town]
Liriano Tosses No-Hitter in Chicago. [Fanatic Jack]
Although I've had a real nice time studying for finals for the last couple weeks before taking them the last two days, I'm happy to be back. Stick around while Babes Love Baseball interviews Teresa Mauer later on this morning, just in time for Mother's Day.
Contact Sooze at firstname.lastname@example.org