Francisco Liriano's No-Hitter: On the Right Track or Just a Great Game?

Rich StoweAnalyst IIIMay 4, 2011

Last night, the Minnesota Twins' Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter, striking out two and walking six in leading the Twins to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Entering the game, Liriano had an ERA of 9.13 (per the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the second highest ERA ever of someone entering a game in which they threw a no-hitter) and a WHIP of over 1.90. 

After the game, his ERA dropped 6.61 and his WHIP dropped to 1.56.

Does this mean Liriano has gotten back on track or does it mean he just had a great game? I believe it was just one great game.

The six walks are the main reason why I feel this way, as his lack of command was a concern coming into the game. Even though he didn't allow any hits, he still allowed too many walks.

A pitcher's job is to not let people on base. The fewer people on base, the fewer runs the opposition can score.

To me, this shows that he has little control right now. After last night's game, Liriano's strikeout to walk ratio is 0.83, meaning he walks more people than he strikes out—not exactly good for a strikeout pitcher.

With the lack of control Liriano had, I believe he was lucky he was facing one of the worst offensive teams in the league in the Chicago White Sox. If you don't have control and you're not getting hitters to swing and miss, how much of the no-hitter is luck? 

How much of it is having your defense in the right place?

I'm not trying to take anything away from what Liriano accomplished last night. Don't get me wrong, pitching a no-hitter is tremendous. It's even more impressive to do it in a 1-0 game where one bad pitch, especially after you walked someone, can mean you not only lose the no-hitter but also the game.

I just want to caution Twins fans (and even fans of other teams hoping they can trade for Liriano) that one game doesn't make a season and that pitching great for nine innings doesn't mean you're now one of the best pitchers in the league.

The only way to tell if last night's performance means Liriano is back on track is to see how he performs in his next start and the start after that and the one after that.

If his stats continue to improve, then it means last night's game was the beginning of him righting the ship. If they don't, it just means he had one great game.