Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night, and SB Nation's Jeff Sullivan isn't quite sure how to feel about it.
On one hand, Sullivan argues that Liriano pitched a no-hitter on a night where he actually wasn't even that good.
While no-hitters are supposed to be this grand, amazing achievement, it's hard to look at Liriano's line and come away amazed by his greatness. If anything, you come away amazed that he was able to pull off the no-hitter despite everything else, because over the course of his game, Liriano walked six guys against two strikeouts, and tied a career high with 123 pitches thrown, of which just 66 - 54% - were strikes.
On the other hand, Sullivan writes that Liriano's struggles actually make the accomplishment more impressive.
Honestly, you could argue that maybe the facts make the whole thing more enjoyable. We've seen a bunch of dominant pitching performances before. Liriano just barely survived. He threw too many pitches. He fell behind everybody. He didn't miss bats. The last out of the game was a line drive. And for Liriano to still throw a no-hitter, and to do it for a struggling team in what might've been his last chance to keep his rotation spot? This wasn't your ordinary no-hitter. This was Francisco Liriano being timely, and the very definition of effectively wild. This was history and excitement, blended with humor and magic.
The worst nine-inning no-hitter ever? Despite Liriano's lack of real dominance in the game, I don't think so. How about the one tossed by current New York Yankee A.J. Burnett on May 12, 2001, when, pitching for the Florida Marlins, he walked nine hitters and struck out seven in no-hitting the San Diego Padres. Of the nine walks Burnett said "that's ridiculous."
Slice it any way you want, Liriano still pitched a no-hitter. And that still makes it special. Even if he wasn't really that good.