Well, we've seen prettier. We've seen more masterful. But for Twins fans recovering from the worst April in recent memory, it sure felt awfully sweet.
Francisco Liriano made history last night, pitching the season's first no-hitter, and the 264th in Major League history. To say the performance came as a shock would be a severe understatement: Twins fans have been digesting news that Liriano was a start or two away from losing his rotation spot for the past several days.
The fans at Twinkie Town, however, knew he had it in him. Jesse's headline yesterday read: The Hangover Ends Tonight.
There is a lot to talk about from this game, and we all deserve to take full opportunity of one of our few chances to celebrate so far this season. It's hard to believe that one dramatic game will turnaround our dismal season (this one didn't seem to work), and a six-walk, two-strikeout game does little to assuage the significant question marks surrounding our struggling ace. But at the very least, last night's game gives us the opportunity to say:
After the jump, I've compiled some interesting factoids about Liriano's unconventional no-hitter. Some of them I'm sure you've already seen, others I haven't seen presented yet. I, for one, am fascinated by this type of miscellanea - please add your own in the comments.
Liriano threw 123 pitches last night - 66 strikes and 57 balls.
His 123 pitches matches a career-high, set almost exactly a year ago (May 2, 2010). He hadn't thrown more than 97 pitches yet this year.
In 204 previous starts before last night, Liriano had never even pitched a complete game.
This was the first Twins no-hitter since Eric Milton in 1999. It was the first time the White Sox were no-hit since Bret Saberhagen shut them down in 1991.
This one I'm stealing from Elias: Liriano entered the game with a 9.13 ERA, the second-highest by a pitcher since earned runs became official in 1913. Bill Dietrich had a 10.13 ERA before throwing his no-hitter in 1937.
Liriano was just the thirteenth pitcher since 1919 to throw a no-hitter with two or fewer strikeouts. The last was Jerry Reuss of the Dodgers in 1980.
Throwing a no-hitter with 6 or more walks is not as rare as I would have guessed. Since 1919, 22 pitchers have accomplished that feat. Frankie's was the 7th since 1990.
Liriano earned a fairly pedestrian Game Score of 83 in pitching his no-hitter. Twelve pitchers have earned game scores higher than 83 already this season. Three others have matched it.
In fact, his Game Score of 83 ties the lowest mark of any no-hitter since 1919 (matching Lefty Chambers mark in 1951 - 8 walks, 4 strikeouts).
Frankie and Lefty share another chapter in history: they own the only two no-hitters since 1919 in which the pitcher walked four more batters than he struck out.
We know Franchise had some help from his fielders, but this one shocked me: this is the first time a pitcher's no-hitter was supported by 3 or more double plays. (Acknowledging we only have GIDP dating back to the early 50s).
This was just the seventh 1-0 no-hitter thrown since 1980. The last was tossed by Liriano's opponent last night: Edwin Jackson. That game featured a solo home run as well. The many similarities between those two games was covered extensively by Adam last night.
One last note: coming into the game, Frankie's xFIP stood at 5.25. His xFIP for the game? 5.97.
*Ok, not everything. I have a feeling we'll be talking about this game for years to come.