Francisco Liriano throws unlikely no-hitter

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano throws a pitch in the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York City on April 7, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo

Entering Tuesday night’s game with the White Sox, Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano held a 9.13 ERA. In his previous start, he lasted just three innings and there were rumors that Kevin Slowey would replace him in the rotation.

So naturally, Liriano no-hit the ChiSox on Tuesday. Granted, it wasn’t a masterpiece as he walked six and struck out just two. But it was the first no-hitter of the 2011 MLB season and Minnesota’s first no-no since Eric Milton accomplished the feat back in 1999. Still, for a guy who came into the game with an 18/18 K/BB ratio and a 1.90 WHIP, Liriano’s performance was rather stunning.

Or was it? Entering the night, he was 5-0 in his last five starts against the White Sox, who were utterly helpless against the lefty on Tuesday. Plus, the Twins claimed a few days ago that the thought they had discovered inconsistency in the Liriano’s delivery. Maybe the adjustments coupled with the opponent created a perfect storm for Liriano to get his groove back.

The talks of being replaced in the rotation will certainly die down now for Liriano. He’s bought himself a couple of more starts, although if he reverts back to the same awful pitcher he was before Tuesday night then the Kevin Slowey rumors will no doubt arise again. Here’s hoping for Liriano and the Twins’ sake, this will light a fire under this struggling club.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Francisco Liriano-to-Yankees talk heating up

Over the weekend, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Yankees were keeping a close eye on Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano. On Monday, Nightengale told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that he thinks Liriano will be traded to New York sometime in the next two weeks.

From Rotoworld:

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano throws against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on August 12, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan

We’ve heard discussion about the Twins possibly trading Liriano from a variety of sources, so it appears this rumor has legs. The Yankees have an obvious need in their rotation, but the Twins would be trading away the closest thing they have to an ace at the moment. According to Nightengale, the Twins would acquire either Ivan Nova or Joba Chamberlain, in addition to other pieces. Stay tuned, because it sounds like things are about to get very interesting.

If the Twins acquire Chamberlain, I wonder if they’ll consider him a starter or a reliever. Because obviously the Yankees’ brass doesn’t feel that he’s a starter or else he would be mentioned along with the other 25 candidates that are trying out for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in New York’s rotation.

If they do wind up trading Liriano, it’s hard to like Minnesota’s chances in the AL Central this year. The White Sox and Tigers have retooled and the Twins’ bullpen took some big hits in the offseason. Getting healthy seasons out of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer would become even more vital given the losses the Twins have (or will) absorbed in their pitching staff.

Assuming Liriano could handle pitching in the Bronx, he would give immediate hope to the Yankees’ pitching situation. Now all of a sudden, less would be expected of A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, which is huge in the case of Burnett (who succumbed to the pressure last season after pitching well in 2009).

Yankees keeping a close eye on Liriano?

Minnesota Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson (R) and catcher Joe Mauer (L) talk with starting pitcher Francisco Liriano during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on September 14, 2010. UPI/Brian Kersey

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano, while Minnesota is keeping a close eye on the Yankees’ prospects.


Interesting. We heard earlier this month that the Twins’ front office could be open to the idea of dealing Liriano, and the Yankees, of course, immediately popped up as a potentially interested party. The southpaw is under team control through the end of next season, but if the Twins don’t think they’ll be able to lock him up on a long-term deal, exploring a trade does make some sense. Liriano, who had 201 strikeouts in 192 innings last season, would force the Yanks to give up at least one blue chip prospect.

The Yankees will need to make a move at some point because their starting rotation looks like a poorly constructed Jenga tower right now. CC Sabathia is the bottom holding everything together, while Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre comprise the rest of the shaky tower.

But I wonder whether the Yankees and Twins are a match. The Bombers have two catching prospects in Jesus Montero (who is probably viewed as un-tradeable) and Gary Sanchez that would fetch them a major-league starter, but it’s not like the Twins need a catcher. It would be interesting to see what Minnesota would ask for in exchange for Lirinao.

2010 MLB Preview: AL Central

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Next up is the AL Central.

1. Chicago White Sox (9)
Some folks will think that this is too high for the White Sox – that they should be behind the Twins and out of the top 10 in terms of the overall power rankings. Some folks will say that Jake Peavy won’t be healthy all season and that the Chi Sox will once again falter as they try to live station to station on offense. Well, I say the folks that disagree with my opinion are friggin idiots. Harsh? Yeah, but it also needed to be said. I realize that I’m taking a risk by moving the Sox to the head of the AL Central, but really, it’s hard to argue that this division isn’t a crapshoot anyway. Every team has question marks heading into the season but at the end of the day, pitching makes or breaks a team. I realize Peavy missed all of last year due to injury, but the Sox were second in the AL in pitching last season with a 4.14 ERA without him. If he stays healthy, Peavy will only add to Chicago’s solid rotation (which also features Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia) and the addition of J.J. Putz should bolster the bullpen as well. Outside of injuries, the only thing that could potentially hold Chicago back this year is its offense. What do you mean that’s kind of a big deal? I’m banking that youngster Gordon Beckham develops quickly and that Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios return to form. I also think the Sox will get key contributions from the additions GM Kenny Williams made this offseason in Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen. I’m not expecting the Sox to magically transform into the Yankees of the AL Central, but I do believe they have enough offense to get by while their pitching carries them to a playoff berth.

Read the rest of this entry »

FBB Notes: Liriano to start opener, Street named closer, Wilson hurt

– The Twins placed RHP Scott Baker on the 15-day DL with right shoulder stiffness, which means Francisco Liriano will start for Minnesota on Opening Day. (

– It appears that Huston Street has officially beat out Manny Corpas for the right to be named the Rockies’ Opening Day closer. (Denver Post)

– Giants’ closer Brian Wilson (who saved 41 games last season and made the All-Star Game) hasn’t pitched in eight days because of an infected middle finger and could miss Opening Day. San Fran would likely choose either Jeremy Affeldt or Bob Howry to close in Wilson isn’t ready by next Tuesday. (San Francisco Chronicle)

– Cardinals’ third basemen Troy Glaus might not return before the All-Star Break as he continues to rehab following shoulder surgery. (St. Louis Dispatch)

– The Reds are showing interest in outfielder Gary Sheffield, who was released by the Tigers last week. (

– Fernando Rodney has been named the Tigers’ closer for Opening Day, although manager Jim Leyland indicated that Brandon Lyon could still get the opportunity to close games early on. (Detroit Free Press)

Related Posts