Francisco Liriano No-Hitter: Does This Mean He's Back for Good?

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IMay 4, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 13:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning of their game on April 13, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The last person to throw a no-hitter in Minnesota was Eric Milton back in 1999, so it’s been a while since Twins fans have been graced with such an event.

The last time Francisco Liriano pitched even just a quality game was September 1, 2010 against the Tigers—in which Liriano went seven strong and fanned seven, while only dishing out five hits.

Well last night the cosmos must have had a strange alignment to them or something because Liriano somehow go things together and shocked everyone by throwing a no-hitter—the first of the year.

I say shocked for several reasons:

1. With pitchers like Halladay and Lincecum in the league, the last person anyone would suspect to throw a no-no would be Liriano.

2. Liriano hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire this season—as I projected—entering last night’s contest with a 9.13 ERA, 18/18 K/BB ratio and 1.90 WHIP through five starts.

So the latest buzz question floating around is: Does this mean Liriano is back for good?

To clarify for those who don’t understand, Liriano at one time was an incredibly dominant pitcher for the Twins—a true staff ace.

Prior to his 2009 collapse and numerous bouts with injuries, Liriano was a .720 percentage winner who was throwing an average of 9.6 strikes per game (211 total).

Liriano was18-7 cumulatively (2006 and 2008), despite missing all of 2007 because of Tommy John surgery. His command was one of the best in the game and his control was just as dangerous.

But since then, Liriano has gone from sunny days to rainy ways with a combined 19-23 record over the past two years.

That subpar record is piggybacked with a 4.52 ERA and a declined 8.9 K/9 rate.

But fans still held out hope after last year’s season, albeit an average one at best.

So great, but does this mean he’s back?

In short, no.

There are three factors to consider here:

1. Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA, 18/18 K/BB ratio and 1.90 WHIP before last night.

2. The White Sox basically came limping to the barn as a team hitting .236, no to mention a bevy of other offensive disorders we won't get into.

3. Let’s not forget Liriano did issue six walks, which is right in line with his 6.6 BB/9 rate of 2011.

Don’t get me wrong, in no way is this piece supposed to deflate Twins fans in the slightest bit—enjoy this rarity.

But the fact still remains, as I have said from Day 1, Liriano’s career is basically done as a starter—in Minnesota anyway—with the 2006 version long gone.

It is a shame really, but it was nice to watch nonetheless.