Picking It UpPosted 4 May 2011 by Wee Bey
This is what makes baseball great.
Frankie Liriano — Left Arm of God, Head of Rashard Mendenhall — was one more poor outing from leaving Minnesota’s rotation.
So, of course, he went out and threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. But of course, it has to be weirder.
It was pretty weak, as no-hitters go. He had a Game Score of 83, second-lowest ever for a no-hitter. He had an ERA of more than 9 heading into the game. He walked six, and struck out just two — and one of those was Adam Dunn, and that hardly counts — which is completely ass-backwards from his normal numbers. And yet. And yet.
It gets weirder, still. Francisco Liriano has never thrown a no-hitter. He’s never thrown a shutout. Hell, he’s never thrown a complete game. Shit, the way he pitches, most nights, that would take 200 pitches.
Liriano might have made some progress, no-hitter or no. He threw a ton more changeups and, for lack of a better term, slurves, on a frigid night at the Cell when he did not have command of his fastball. In other words, he pitched a little bit.
What shouldn’t be lost, either, is that the Twins — a team which has seen nothing go right thus far this season — played their asses off behind their Quixotic Southpaw. They turned three double plays. Denard Span flat outran a baseball in the left-center gap. Danny Valencia made a ridiculous play at third. Justin Morneau scooped an absolute gork of a throw from shortstop Matt Tolbert in the ninth like the hockey goalie he was in high school. And Jason Kubel yanked a ball out for the only run Minnesota needed.
Picking each other up, they call it in baseballese.
The Twins still have problems. Delmon Young’s still on the DL, as is Joe Mauer. No one save Kubel is hitting. Son of Sal is, in fact, hitting worse than the average NL pitcher. But for one night, at least, they were strangely unbeatable. And the guys in the field seemed to sense that. They picked Frankie up. A no-hitter isn’t predictive of anything down the road. Francisco Liriano might go on to have a great season, an average one, or he might go back to being terrible.
But for one night, at least, the Twins looked like a team playing for each other. Sometimes that happens when a team gets knocked down so far it’s forced to close ranks. It’s one game of 162. And yet. And yet.
The rest of the details will follow. For one night, Frankie Liriano was unhittable, despite not having a good fastball. For one night, the Twins looked like themselves, despite a lineup full of names no one outside the Rochester Red Wings season ticketholder list would recognize. For one night, at least, the Baseball Gods shined on Minnesota.
Same two teams this afternoon.