Francisco Liriano No-Hitter: Ranking 5 Pitchers Who Could Pull It off Next

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIMay 4, 2011

Francisco Liriano No-Hitter: Ranking 5 Pitchers Who Could Pull It off Next

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    It was not the most dominant effort—Liriano walked six and struck out only two—but he made the light-hitting Chicago White Sox look like Little Leaguers. The movement on his pitches didn't allow hitters to get good wood on the ball. The only real scare came from Adam Dunn when he lined out to short to end the game.

    2010 saw five no-hitters, two of which were perfect games. While Roy Halladay was far from a surprise, the others were a shock. This just goes to show that it isn't just the big name pitchers  who pitch their way into the record books. Honestly, who would have predicted that Dallas Braden or Edwin Jackson would be included on this list?

    On any given day we could witness history. Sometimes it is a surprise who is toeing the rubber on that night or it might have been someone who you figured would accomplish the feat at some point in their careers. 

5. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26:  Pitcher Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox delivers to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 26, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Buchholz already has one no-hitter to his name. During his first season in the majors—2007—Buchholz went the distance against the Baltimore Orioles. Who is to say he can't do it again?

    What really impresses me and leads me to believe that Clay could once again ink his name in the record books is his changeup. It is the perfect compliment to his fastball and he is always able to rely on it when he is not able to locate all of his pitches.

    Buchholz also has quite the repertoire of pitches in his arsenal. He has five pitches that he throws with confidence and does a fantastic job keeping hitters off balance. 

    Pitching a no-hitter is not always about striking out the most people or having the most dominant stuff that day, but it's also about keeping the ball off the heart of the bat. With the plethora of pitches that Buchholz has to work with, this is something he can do with ease. 

4. James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Francisco Liriano
    Francisco LirianoJ. Meric/Getty Images

    When Matt Garza left for Chicago, the Rays needed someone to step up their game and fill the void left by him in the rotation. Shields has been that guy this season.

    In his last three starts, he has been flat out dominant. He has given up a grand total of two runs and struck out 28 in 26 innings. While he does not need to be this lights-out to throw a no-no, it wouldn't hurt his chances.

    Just like Buchholz, Shields boasts a top-of-the-line change up. Frankly, having such a weapon, or a sinking fastball, definitely helps your odds in throwing a no-hitter. Both pitches have the type of movement that does not allow hitters to get squared up on the ball. They look like straight fastballs until they drop off the table at the last minute. 

    Shields is pitching at the top of his game at the moment and another no-hitter for this young Rays team might be right around the corner.

3. Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics

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    OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 17:  Trevor Cahill #53 of the Oakland Athletics picthes against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 17, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Cahill is a the type of pitcher with no-hit stuff, but when his pitches are flat, he gets in a lot of trouble. Being a sinker-ball pitcher, Cahill relies heavily on the movement of his pitches and if he doesn't have that, he is quite hittable.

    Cahill is not a strikeout pitcher. In 196.2 innings last season, he only sat down 118 hitters. What he does do well is keep the ball on the ground. His ground ball to fly ball ratio is 1.87.

    He does not mix up his pitches as well as you would hope with 60 percent of his pitches being fastballs, but that does not seem to be much of a problem since he went 18-8 in 2010 and is 4-0 so far this year. Cahill is proving that last year's Cy Young consideration was not a fluke.

    Cahill is also known to have a lights-out curve, but he has not relied on it to frequently. If he features that pitch more prominently, who knows how good he will be.

    The sinker ball can be quite an effective pitch as batters hit it directly into the ground. The incredible downward movement on his pitches makes the probability of Cahill keeping a team hitless that much greater. 

2. Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays

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    SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 12:  Starting pitcher Ricky Romero #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    I really believe in Romero's stuff. As a Yankee fan, I have seen first hand what he can do on the mound. He keeps hitters at bay and has deadly stuff.

    Romero is a southpaw with five pitches to play with. His most effective is his cut fastball into right handers and his changeup. He has the stuff to get out both lefties and righties which makes him a scary threat on the mound. 

    Romero also gets plenty of swings and misses—12 percent of his strikeouts come via the whiff. This stat alone shows just how off balance he keeps hitters.

    When he is firing on all cylinders, he is a force to be reckoned with and if not for the dominance of another pitcher coming up on this list, he would be my favorite to pitch the next no-no this season. 

1. Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 24:  Josh Johnson #55 of the Florida Marlins pitches during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Sun Life Stadium on April 24, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Is anyone pitching better than Josh Johnson this season? You could make a case for Roy Halladay and Jered Weaver, but this kid has been taunting us with no-hit stuff all season. 

    Johnson has given up five hits only once this season through six starts. He flirted with a no-no against the Pirates and then once again in his next start against the Braves. It is only a matter of time before he goes the distance and puts a zero in the hits column. 

    Johnson relies heavily on his fastball, but also has a deadly slider. He consistently throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and keeps batters on their toes with off-speed pitches. 

    After a DL stint in 2010, Johnson has put the doubters to bed and shined this season. His 0.88 ERA and 0.71 WHIP are almost inconceivable, but somehow Johnson continues to dominant the opposition. 

    The only question surrounding Josh Johnson this season is when will he throw a no-hitter.