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  1. well said.

    Comment by jaywrong — May 4, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  2. Admit it. You were going to take the opposing view of the no-hitter coverage, no matter what, right?

    Comment by Boomer — May 4, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  3. Agree and thanks for writing this. Even if he wasn’t “very good” last night, Liriano still did it. Even if the White Sox stink right now, Liriano still had to get them out. I don’t watch baseball for who ‘should’ throw no-hitters or who ‘should’ win the World Series… I watch the game for moments like last night… totally random, where the hell did that come from?, moments. I feel like baseball fans, specifically on the Internet, have gotten away from this and some how being right about a game in which randomness plays a larger roll in outcomes and events than almost any other game and most walks of life.

    Comment by Otter — May 4, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  4. Admit it. You were going to complain no matter what Dave wrote, right?

    Comment by descender — May 4, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  5. Good article. Speaking of non-predictive, strictly-for-fun stats, does anoyone know what the max number of batters faced for a 9 inning no hitter is? I think Liriano faced 30. Just curious.

    Comment by mw — May 4, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  6. i totally concur otter.

    Comment by jaywrong — May 4, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  7. This may seriously be stat nerds most embarrassing non-fan moment. I hope all networks go back to only talking about AVG, RBI, W and L!

    Comment by Crpls — May 4, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  8. You Guys are like the Hipsters of sports writers. Like things that ‘other’ people don’t understand. Re-like things when people start to dislike them.

    Comment by Kyle — May 4, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  9. Well it would just be 27 + walks, right? which he threw six of, which is 33 hitters. And some dude threw 9 walks in a no hitter once, so maybe 36?

    Comment by Kyle — May 4, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  10. Liriano sucked last night. The fact that the Sox didn’t get any hits is pure fluke. I’ll not let anyone stuff a narrative down my throat – not even on FG!

    Comment by Jay — May 4, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  11. I’m not impressed. This no hitter was more than just ‘marginally’ more fluke-y than most other no-hitters.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — May 4, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  12. Infinity. He could go along walking batters until his arm fell off and as long as he got through 9 innings he would have a no hitter.

    Comment by Dustin — May 4, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  13. Well walks plus errors minus double plays. Or something.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — May 4, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  14. Hit batsmen and errors count too.

    Comment by dustygator — May 4, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  15. He asked is not could.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — May 4, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  16. The answer to both of these questions is yes.

    Comment by Telo — May 4, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  17. Hahaha. I got a chuckle here picturing Cameron as a hipster.

    And yes, you have summed him up pretty well in one post. Dave is contrarian for attention.

    Comment by Telo — May 4, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  18. Just pat Dave on the back and say “Thanks for reminding us that No-hitters are rare, and jeez, you’re right – we should just lay off the poor guy for throwing a well below average 9 inning game and walking away with basically the most coveted personal accomplishment a pitcher can attain in baseball, and not dissect and analyze this 6th sigma event. I mean, this is baseball. What kind of losers sit around all day and enjoy doing that?”

    Thanks, Dave. You da man.

    Comment by Telo — May 4, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  19. Yea, the interesting number is how many without a run scoring. Which I’m guessing is 27+27 (bases loaded every inning) without actually thinking about the loopholes or whatifs….

    Comment by Telo — May 4, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  20. I think my reaction to a lot of things stems from watching baseball tonight too much. Where every result is insanely overemphasized and dramatized. So I’m just more skeptical of baseball results because of this I guess…. 10 games into the year the mets are the worst team in baseball history, 10 games later they are the best team in baseball…etc. I love watching the highlights, I should just learn to mute it.

    I dont argue he was the pitcher of record last night, and what resulted can never be taken away from the guy. Its just the fact is, he really wasn’t that good.

    Comment by Scott — May 4, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  21. Fight the power, Jay!

    Comment by chuckb — May 4, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  22. Muting ESPN is never a bad idea!

    Comment by chuckb — May 4, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  23. I don’t know, enjoying the game for what it is, sounds fishy.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 4, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  24. I remember when Milton threw his and the national media ridiculed it for being against a bad hitting team. Some anti-MN bias? I don’t think I’ve ever played that card before, as I think it is silly, but this is two MN no hitters in a row that have been called out as not impressive. Would that ever happen to a Yankee, Red Sock (ha), or Dodger pitcher, let alone two in a row?

    No hitters involve luck. No hitters involve skill. No hitters should be enjoyed and celebrated. The pitcher should be congratulated.

    Can we not analyze them? Of course we can analyze them. But they all involve some luck. They all involve some skill. They all depend on the team as a whole, not just the pitcher. They are a lot like wins that way, except a lot more rare.

    That rarity should be relished, not ridiculed with mean spirited commentary.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  25. to say Liriano “sucked” last night is ridiculous. Yes as far as no-hitters go it was subpar, but he still pitched a CG shutout. If he had allowed 1 hit instead of 0 would people be complaining about how lucky he got and how much he sucked? Its not like the White Sox were crushing line drives all over the place

    Comment by bob — May 4, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  26. As baseball fans, can we not appreciate this no-hitter for the pure fact that it WAS so unlikely? It was bad, but it was fun! Every time someone hit a line drive, including Adam Dunn on the last out, it was hilarious to see someone make a great play to keep it going. Every time Liriano walked someone, I had to laugh when the next Sox batter grounded into a double play. Can we not have fun with these things?

    Also, did anyone else find it ironic that he was facing Edwin Jackson? After Liriano had a no-hitter through 3, I actually thought to myself, “Holy crap, Liriano could actually out-Edwin Jackson Edwin Jackson! How ridiculous would that be?” And then he went on to do it.

    Comment by Ameer — May 4, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  27. I think everyone notes the quality of competition for a no-hitter, though. The last two no-hitters for Boston (my hometeam), for instance, came against the Orioles and Royals, and it was certainly mentioned plenty. I remember people also using Buchholz’s no-hitter to bring up how 25% of no-hitters come in September against weaker competition from expanded rosters. Didn’t bother me none. The difference between a September no-no against the Os and a July no-no against the Yankees is a real difference, but it’s impressive no matter whom it’s against.

    Comment by Ari Collins — May 4, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  28. I think it’s possible to appreciate that a no-hitter happened and also to acknowledge that of those 268 no-hitters, this one was of the least impressive. I didn’t get the impression that people were out to denigrate Liriano; I think people rightly discussed that, hey, this particular no-hitter happened in spite of a not-so-great outing. I think it was also important – for some audiences – for writers to go beyond the surface to point out that this formerly-great, currently-struggling pitcher isn’t fixed because he achieved this rare feat.

    Comment by Joe P. — May 4, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  29. I don’t know that anyone is complaining, but I do think people would still rightly point out that Liriano is still struggling despite the result. He may not have “sucked”, but he also did not pitch particularly well. That’s worth mentioning given the context of Liriano’s season to this point.

    Comment by Joe P. — May 4, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  30. Every no-hitter ever is a fluke.

    Comment by Otter — May 4, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  31. Hooray for fun!!!

    Comment by dudley — May 4, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  32. So was Liriano’s no-no last night the 1988 Dodgers or the 2006 Cardinals of no-hitters?

    Comment by Otter — May 4, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  33. AJ Burnett’s wild no-hitter was rightly discussed, the fact that Armando Galarraga’s robbed perfect-game didn’t portend an ascent to greatness was discussed, and so on and so forth. I don’t think that’s mean-spirited and it underestimates baseball fans’/writers’ ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. “No hitters are neat, but here’s what this one means.”

    Comment by Joe P. — May 4, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  34. Not a single ball left the IF after the 5th inning. Hitters were off balance all night, as Liriano forced pop up after pop up, and double play ball after double play ball. Aside from the Dunn liner, I only recall one other well struck ball, which was the gaper that Spann ran down in the 5th.

    Be honest – how many of you being critical here didn’t watch the game, aside from maybe the final inning? Stats don’t always tell the story. That was a well pitched game.

    Comment by W2BTD — May 4, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  35. Fun? I don’t much care for that…

    Comment by Curmudgeon McSourbritches — May 4, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  36. This Dodgers fan is inclined to pick the ’06 Cards. Heh.

    Comment by Joe P. — May 4, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  37. Thumbs down are just a lazy. This will probably get about 10 thumbs down.

    Comment by Telo — May 4, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  38. “it was hilarious to see someone make a great play to keep it going.”

    I don’t think “hilarious” means what you think it means… :)

    Comment by Jason B — May 4, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  39. I agree totally with what you are saying, as someone who just traded John Danks and Casey McGehee for Bud Norris, Liriano and Mike Adams a week ago, I appreciate positive Liriano posts. If only to aggravate my fellow fantasy friend.

    A little perspective from a typical fangraphs reader. Stats does more than promote accuracy for the sport. There’s a certain Qaulia of experiencing the game through the lens of sabermetrics. This Qualia allows me to not only experience the game as it is happening but also to experience the game of predicting future outcomes. I get to watch the game which lasts roughly 2.5/3 hours but most importantly I get to think about it in those precious moments when I’ve nothing else to do but day dream at work or those times where I can sneak into Fangraphs and read the newest Dave Cameron column.

    There is a problem of overanalysis, and moreso a problem of misappropriating statistics but really is there any harm done?

    Comment by Romyrick — May 4, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  40. Stat geeks take the fun out of baseball. Face it, this performance can be supported by data….you stat geeks just dont collect the right measures yet….your measures and tools are VERY limited…..being able to measure something in baseball is the EXCEPTION…it is rare.

    Stat geeks were unable to explain how this happened, therefore they are dismissing it.

    Try enjoying talent once and awhile.

    Comment by LionoftheSenate — May 4, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  41. as do pickoffs and runners caught stealing/thrown out trying to advance

    Comment by Matt — May 4, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  42. Someone posted on Dave’s chat that maybe the low strikeout total was fluky. Like maybe if he makes the same pitches next time he gets 10 Ks. I thought it was a good point.

    Comment by Pierre — May 4, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  43. While arguing for the sake of arguing isn’t always a great stance, in this instance I feel it’s justified. News media likes to create a common narrative and the majority of sports writers pen different versions of the same story. Thanks to blogs such as Fangraphs, we get to read stories that break the mold.

    So if Dave chose this time to break the mold for the sake of breaking the mold, I say more power to him. It serves a purpose, whereas picking a fight just to pick a fight is pointless.

    Comment by Mac — May 4, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  44. ^best name ever

    Comment by Kyle — May 4, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  45. Winning the lottery is also rare. Your point?

    Comment by MV — May 4, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  46. No hitters don’t mean anything, do they?

    And, as someone that doesn’t live where you live, perhaps I did not see th coverage of other no hitters after the immediate excitement.

    Like I said, I don’t generally buy the “bias” thing (other than the obvious big market bias that is totally rational).

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  47. Why not the 87 Twins?

    Comment by Nick — May 4, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  48. Can you be thrown out advancing in a no-hitter situation? I guess if an error results in the runner reaching first but then you get thrown out at third or home? That would be something. If you talk about that, you gotta talk about triple plays, too. So it’s:

    27 + walks + errors + HBP – GIDP – 2*TP – baserunning outs

    Comment by adam — May 4, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  49. Agree, I watched the whole game and do not remember any truly extraordinary plays. Span’s running catch to end the 5th was a play 95% of centerfielders should make. Valencia’s play behind the bag to get Quentin was a nice play but nothing spectacular. Morneau’s scoop in the 9th was only extraordinary because he’s struggled so mightily on defense this year, before July 6, 2010, he makes that pick 85% of the time and no one is any different, but I will agree it saved the no-hitter because the official scorer would have almost assuredly ruled it a hit to end the no-hit bid because the game was in Chicago.

    Other than that every play was basically a routine groundball and the occasional pop up, which I find incredibly impressive because most no-hitters have a DeWayne Wise-type saving play.

    Comment by knucka11 — May 4, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  50. Tim Hudson’s line from Oct 3rd 2010 was pretty cool.

    7 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 H, 2 HR, 3 SO, 1 BB, 1 HBP, .014 WPA, .000 BABIP,

    Comment by Ryan — May 4, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  51. That is a valid point that I didn’t think of and one of the beauties of baseball, what if some of those weak grounders were another quarter inch off the bat? Suddenly we’re not talking about how crappy this no-hitter was and his 5.64 xFIP, we’re looking at a 10K, 6BB (or less) no-hitter, which not great, but is significantly more impressive to most people

    Comment by knucka11 — May 4, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  52. No hitters are only useful in that its really hard to allow runs without hits. His no hitter is as awesome historically as any other shutout.

    Congrats. Another “great” DC article.

    Comment by Garrett — May 4, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  53. What was his swinging strike rate?

    Comment by Garrett — May 4, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  54. Edwin Jackson agrees.

    Do I even need to look up the comments about whether Jackson’s no-hitter should be appreciated or not?

    A no hitter is a no hitter …. it’s like the ugliest Ms. America. One of the had to be the ugliest … but even then, she’s pretty hot.

    Tom Browning threw a no hitter once. It’s still a no hitter.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 4, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  55. Agreed.

    Isn’t it the flukey, unsustainable, “lucky”, etc type of baseball events that make it exciting?

    How fun would it be if we just said “yeah, that’s supposed to happen.” after every game/series?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 4, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  56. I would call it a poorly hit game.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — May 4, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  57. yeah, its ridiculous people focus on stupid things like stats! I mean come on, instead of counting how many walks a person allows you should instead count how many hits he doesn’t…

    Anyway, by “enjoying talent” you do mean the talent of the fielding team behind him, right? That is of course the main reason he saw this “achievement”, and I think we are all appreciating them here.

    In reality, Liriano can only really claim 100% personal success on a measly 2 of the 27 outs – the rest of the team gets a lot (to even most) of the credit for the 25 others; we are just making sure they get the credit they deserving for doing all the heavy lifting for the guy on the mound…

    Comment by yep — May 4, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  58. Garrett: Here you go, courtesy of Buster Olney –

    Liriano adjusted to the White Sox as the game went on. The White Sox swung at just 34.1 percent of Liriano’s pitches, the lowest percentage against the Twins left-hander over the last three seasons. In innings 1-3, Liriano threw just 38.7 percent of his pitches in the strike zone. That number increased to 43.6 in innings 4-6 and 48.6 in innings 7-9.

    • The White Sox did not hit the ball out of the infield in the last four innings, as Liriano threw 59.6 percent of his pitches down in that span, compared to 46.5 in the first five innings.

    • Twenty-one of Liriano’s 26 changeups were low. He got five outs with his changeup in the last four innings (including a double play), and none left the infield.

    • Liriano had six innings of 12 pitches or less. It’s even more impressive considering that he threw first-pitch balls to 19 of the 30 hitters he faced.

    Comment by DD — May 4, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  59. Do we do that? Pretty sure we talk about probabilistic predictions here ALL. THE. TIME.

    Comment by adam — May 4, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  60. Let’s put it in contrast to something else that is pretty rare…

    Say you’re going full court for a freethrow line dunk only to stumble, struggle on the launch, throw the ball against the rim before slamming your hand down on it as well, watch the ball fly pop straight back up in the air for a second, come down and roll around on the rim for a moment, then fall in.

    Is it special, or is it a bit of a haphazard event which happened to work out okay in the end? Should it be held to the same level of praise as someone like Mike or Clyde? Should it even make a Dunk highlight real?

    Or should it just be generally overlooked as not much of an example of the feat?

    Comment by yep — May 4, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  61. Not to be one of “those people” but I wonder if this was a saberfriendly less pitcher that did this like say Matt Cain or god forbid Carlos Silva if this article would’ve been written.

    Comment by Matt C — May 4, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  62. Yeah, the pitcher has no influence on batting results other than K’s.

    Ever see one of those batting charts that shows Batting average by pitch location?

    Seems like a pitcher can influence probability simply by where they throw the ball.

    Ever seen batting stats based on count?

    Seems like a pitcher can greatly influence probability by being ahead in the count.

    Either due to Liriano, the ChiSox batters, or a combination of both, there wasn’t a lot of solid contact in that game. That’s not just luck.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 4, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  63. Sorry, “Here’s how this pitcher performed and what it says about his season moving forward”, if you prefer. I was not reading Sabermetric blogs in 2001 – nor do I know to what extent they were proliferate – but my recollection is that the discussion of Burnett’s wildness was immediate. Burnett did K 9 batters, so perhaps the discussion of the, uh, lack of impressiveness for this one has been pronounced for that reason. A quick Google search brings up similar conversations about Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter.

    Comment by Joe P. — May 4, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  64. It’s already at 10, I would vote it down more but I don’t want to ruin your beautiful prediction.

    Comment by descender — May 4, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  65. I guess we’ll all ignore the fact that Liriano got spared another 4 or 5 pitches because of a bogus, horrible tag-out call late in the game.

    Comment by Alanzo B. Pasquelli — May 4, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  66. It’s 27 +45 as you can allow a max of 5 baserunners an inning without scoring

    Comment by joe — May 4, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  67. @joe: If you allow 5 baserunners in an inning but not giving up a run you have to erase two of them with a triple-play. You’re still only facing 6 batters per inning.

    Comment by Al Dimond — May 4, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  68. That dude would be AJ Burnett, who issued 9 walks in his no-no back on 5/12/2001. But he’s one-upped by Jim Maloney, who issued 10 walks in his ten inning 8/19/1965 no-no, the only regular season extra inning no-hitter on record. And yes, Maloney’s 40 batters faced are the most of any no-hitter.

    The most batters faced among regulation 9 inning no-hitters is a tie at 36 between Dock Ellis (his infamous LSD no hitter on 6/12/1970) and Burnett’s aforementioned no hitter.

    Comment by Gomez — May 4, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  69. No, I’m agreeing with you. I don’t think No hitters mean anything in predicting the future for a pitcher, anymore than win does….except maybe 1 thing.

    Some of these guys throw waaaaay more pitches than they are used to. That might be an issue or not.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  70. Everyone’s seen a chart of batting average by pitch location and batting stats based on count. What we’d need to see is BABIP and HR/FB based on pitch location. That’s most of what’s not covered in xFIP.

    Comment by Al Dimond — May 4, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  71. This…..

    If this was a 23 flyball no hitter by Cain it would be a different article and people here talking about how it shouldn’t have happened.

    It’s the same thing with trades or FA contracts. The quality of the move is colored by the GM.

    Comment by joe — May 4, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  72. “Admit it. You were going to complain no matter what Dave wrote, right?”

    No, if he agreed that the no-hitter was a joke, I would agree.

    But he chose to take a weak contrarian stance, as usual.

    Comment by Jim — May 4, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  73. Ha, bad choice of words. Maybe “comical” would describe it better?

    Comment by Ameer — May 4, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  74. Or maybe “ridiculous” works even better?

    Comment by Ameer — May 4, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  75. Congratulations on throwing 53% strikes in your “no-hitter” Francisco. I wonder what would’ve happened if you were around the plate more.

    Great accomplishment though, very rare!

    Comment by Jim — May 4, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  76. did you purposely ignore, or just fail to comprehend, the sentence?

    “Liriano can only really claim 100% personal success on a measly 2 of the 27 outs – the rest of the team gets a lot (to even most) of the credit for the 25 others”

    Anyway, put a team comprised of guys like Dunn / Castillo / Betancourt / E5 / Hawpe / McClouth / Abreu behind him, and we’ll see how many hits he surrenders with such a large percentage of balls in play…

    That said, it should also be noted that his wildness helped tremendously on his way to stumbling into this feat. Had he not allowed so many baserunners, the team wouldn’t have been able to get so many DPs – it could have been the difference of 3 more balls in play, lowering the likelihood he escaped it the way he did even more…

    Comment by yep — May 4, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  77. Just like we should ignore any strikes called balls, or balls called strikes.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  78. By the way, I had/am having plenty of FUN trashing this “no-hitter”. Who says my enjoyment of baseball has to be something positive?

    Comment by Jim — May 4, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  79. See, these comments aren’t about analyzing the predictive nature of his peformance at all. There are just a lot of mean spirited, snarky comments. Some are snarky toward Liriano, and some toward the author.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  80. Exactly. Just because an event is rare doesn’t mean it should be more impressive. There have been almost 2,200 shutouts by pitchers who did not allow a walk, hit batter, or wild pitch, but as a cause for celebrating an individual player’s skill, I’ll take those over most no-hitters any day.

    Similarly, there have only been 223 cycles, but over 3,300 10+ total base games by hitters. Restricting the list to one hit of each type doesn’t do anything for me but rob three thousand hitters of recognition for a great achievement. Even if you up the total base minimum to 13, there have still been fewer cycles hit, yet the value difference between those games is ridiculous.

    Comment by BIP — May 4, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  81. What I was getting at is that a few hitters seemed to get jammed, producing weak contact.

    The exception would be Alexie who seems to jan himself a lot these days.

    It was not a thing of beauty, but he did keep the ball in the park and won a 1-0 game. I’m not saying he was not fortunate, or that White Sox don’t swing nerd bats these days, etc.

    But other pitchers that threw a shutout while issuing 6 walks with 2 K’s might get labels like “resilient” or “bulldog” or a “battler”. We shouldn’t really view the feat as a joke because I didn’t see him getting hit all over the ballpark.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 4, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  82. Agree. Why do people bother reading this crap. I only read similarians and arbitrarians.

    Comment by Dan — May 4, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  83. Not fully true, there was a pop out to shallow left field that Matt Tolbert grabbed with Rene Tosoni basically riding piggyback in the 7th inning. (in other words, Tosoni called for it but Tolbert didn’t back off).

    Comment by Bryz — May 4, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  84. Probably already said: a little credit to the oft-forgotten defense.

    Comment by Dan — May 4, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  85. Does that make Fangraphs baseball’s version of Pitchfork? Dear God…

    Comment by Logan — May 4, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  86. Someone up there said something about baseball hipsters… they nailed it.

    I mean cmon, no one is saying the guy sucked, but it was a decent pitching performance at best. What’s the point of using stats like XFIP if we’re just gonna turn it off when we feel like “enjoying” something.

    No, I don’t think that watching a guy who has no control luckbox his way to a no-hitter is enjoyable, if anything, I think grouping a performance like this in with no hitters where guys pitched their asses off devalues the whole thing… I guess that makes me a stuffy stat nerd.

    I can deal with that.

    Comment by Chris — May 4, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  87. Otter you’re on fire in this comment thread. Testify brother.


    (Marine animal who does cute little tricks with their flippers?)

    Comment by Jason B — May 4, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  88. Why would (shutouts in which a pitcher allows a hitter, walk, or wild pitch) be preferable to “most no hitters”? Because they’re more common, they’re somehow preferable?

    Look, we all get that a no-hitter gets a lot of attention because its a rare occurence. And we get that the one-game sample is not a true indicator of anyone’s talent. But let’s not say silly things like “yeah, I’ll take that 7-hit, 4-walk shutout over that no hitter any day!” to further these points that we all readily agree upon anyway.

    Comment by Jason B — May 4, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  89. So there should be different types of no hitters? different types of homeruns (does a HR that is knocked over the fence by the fielder count less in either enjoyment or statistics, what about shots to RF in Yankee stadium, do those only count as outs or doubles)? different types of walks (like if the ump just sucks that night?)? different types of hits? different types of throws (like, if Casilla makes a crappy throw and Morneau digs it out)? different types of strikeouts (like if the ump is being generous that night)? How about day/night/hot/cold/raining/clear skies, if one of those is easier on the pitcher, and he throws a no hitter that day, is that less valuable somehow to enjoy?

    You know, now that I’ve typed that….
    I actually stopped watching baseball during the height of the Glavine era. I could NOT watch him get strikes 6 inches off the plate (or whatever it was) called strikes, while the opposing pitcher did not get those calls. I hate it when hitters get calls they shouldn’t because they’ve “earned” them. Now, maybe for some of you, you view this accomplishment the same way. But I still don’t get the kind of meanness to some of the posts.

    And, some people have said Liriano kind of sucked last night.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 4, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  90. What was the game score for Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter? He gave up 8 walks, 7 in the first 3 innings and threw 149 pitches with 53% strikes. He also threw a wild pitch and hit a batter, and one man got on via an error. He faced 36 batters as he managed to get no double plays. The Rays were 2 for 3 in stolen bases which probably does not count against him but may have resulted from his inability to hold runners close.

    He did get 6 strikeouts which probably made his effort more impressive. The Rays hit into only 2 line drive outs, 8 non line drive fly outs and 11 ground outs.

    Comment by Bob R. — May 4, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  91. The White Sox and their approach at the plate are a joke right now. I watched just about every pitch and Liriano was falling behind in the count to almost every hitter 1-0 or 2-0 or at least it felt that way. The Chi Sox could have easily walked 10 times in the game. The ultimate example was the 9th inning. After Liriano issued a one-out walk to super slugger Juan Pierre, Alexei Ramirez came to the plate and naturally swings at a 58 foot change-up on the 1st pitch. Seriously Alexei, your team is down a run, the guy on the mound just finished walking his sixth batter of the night, a batter with about as much pop as Betty White no less, and you swing at a first-pitch change-up that Patrick Ewing wouldn’t have reached if he was crouching in front of the plate? They have too many guys with no baseball IQ whatsoever. Watching guys like Quentin, Ramirez and Beckham swinging at everything is beyond painful and I’m not even a White Sox fan. Even Adam Dunn, who has good on-base skills swung at ball four twice before lining out to end the game. I guess you could say I agree with KickMeInTheGoNats in that I was more appalled by the Sox offensive performance than I was impressed by Liriano’s pitching.

    Comment by jpg — May 4, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  92. As several others have said: well played.

    The stat-obsessed have done baseball and its fans a huge service in their investigation of the game, but it is exactly at these moments that make it seem that too many of them have entirely lost track of the fact that it’s a GAME for most of us fans, not a job or a business, and that odd-no-hitters, hit streaks, inside-the-park HRs, etc. are a bigger part of the entertainment on any one day than Fip or WAR.

    Of course, if they get their ([snark] I sometimes suspect pachinko-ball-sized) rocks off by staring at their predictive stats, that’s their business. Some people jerk off to the telephone book, no doubt.

    Comment by pinball1973 — May 4, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  93. We get it, you enjoy sub par pitching performances, that’s fine, in an ood sort of way.

    Comment by Chris — May 4, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  94. I mea, read JPG’s post, that’s a perfect description of how the game went yesterday. Seeing a team underperform at that level is tough to watch… But hey, I guess i’m “ruining it” by pointing out the obvious.

    Comment by Chris — May 4, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  95. Then don’t listen to the stat geeks. Simple as that.

    Though really, this performance can be supported by data…that data is called luck which oh so happens to be one of the major points of sabermetrics. Indirectly measured, but looked at nonetheless.

    Comment by Ree — May 4, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  96. Not only do no pitchers have a true talent level .000 BABIP, none of them also have a true talent level of zero percent HR/FB or HR/LD ratio, either.

    I trust that there were many Twins fans watching last night that didn’t care that his pitching performance wasn’t all that impressive but simply enjoyed his achievement for the wonderful moment that a no-hitter is.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — May 4, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  97. As I said somewhere else, It was only a matter of time with the current state of the White Sox “offense.” Liriano was just lucky to be there when they were a little worse than usual.

    It’s still an accomplishment, but it’s not like he dominated a great lineup.

    Comment by MikeS — May 4, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  98. to be honest pitchfork and fangraphs are the first websites I check in the morning.

    Comment by Joe — May 4, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

  99. But you must remember, this is the Twins defense. So, anytime they actually get someone out it’s a great play!

    Comment by Mr. Perspective — May 4, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  100. He didn’t break any mold. He simply conceded that baseball isn’t all about stats, and can’t be fully explained by stats. And frankly, I’m shocked that Cameron is the one who wrote this.

    Comment by Nat Haniel — May 4, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  101. I have a friend who once hit a hole in one by hitting a screaming liner into a trap, where the ball hit a rake, shot out sideways, drilled the flagstick, and fell straight down into the hole.

    That’s what Liriano did last night.

    Comment by Texas_Dawg — May 4, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  102. Hey Chris, just stop talking already.

    Comment by Smallball — May 4, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  103. I’d rather hear that story than if he hit a regular hole in one.

    Comment by Smallball — May 4, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  104. Having also watched the entire game, I have to basically agree with the first two posts (excepting the “no balls to the outfield” comment, as was pointed out.)

    It also seems that Liriano finds a way to confound the saberheads, (though I really do love this site,) regardless of how he pitches. Last year, when he would put up dominating saber numbers, but the results weren’t so great, one got the impression that this site considered him just unfortunate. While, most who actually watched him pitch regularly (and cheered for the Twins) were very frustrated with his meltdowns under pressure, his tendency to throw very hittable pitches at the wrong times, and the number of pitches it took him to get outs.

    So, last night, he goes into the ninth inning only throwing 93 pitches, had extremely few balls that good contact was made on, pitched out of an ugly first half of the 4th inning (when he would have melted down many times last year), got ground balls when he needed them, and gutted out the ninth inning. And all we’re basically hearing is how lucky he was. Go figure.

    Was it dominating? no. Was it spectacular? no. Does it give me a ton of confidence in Frankie going forward? no. Was it better than many of his outings last year? yes. Were there numerous steps in the right direction? yes. Was it a darn good pitching performance? yes.

    Was Liriano significantly more fortunate in his no-hitter than 80% of the others thrown? Probably not. Were the Twins particularly fortunate to win that game 1-0? Not from where I was watching the game.

    Comment by Suffering Twins Fan — May 4, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  105. Thank you Gomez.

    Comment by Luke in MN — May 4, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  106. And I will take those 25 outs every time he pitches, regardless of who gets the credit. (What a narrow view of the game – jeesh!)

    Comment by Suffering Twins Fan — May 4, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  107. Sub par? What golf course are you playing on?

    Comment by Suffering Twins Fan — May 4, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  108. Anybody want to chip in on what percentage of no-hitters come against teams that finish over .500? My guess is that it is rather low.

    Comment by Suffering Twins Fan — May 4, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  109. I do, however.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — May 4, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

  110. No hitters against over .500 teams?

    The Rays screw up the data.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 4, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  111. Agreed. One of the best things of Cameron’s I’ve read.

    Comment by Matt — May 4, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

  112. 9 players that are payed millions to hit a baseball were kept from hitting the ball hard 27 times. a no-hitter is a no-hitter, get over it

    Comment by kyle — May 4, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

  113. I can’t be the only one that felt appreciation instead of outrage about Halladay’s perfect game despite Hanley being rung up on what was clearly ball 4.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 5, 2011 @ 12:09 am

  114. Yeah, and so does he.

    The rest of his friends want to puke when the fact he has a hole in one is mentioned.

    But he can say, “Hey, scorecard, losers…” to which we say, “Congrats… dumbass.”

    So, anyway… congrats, Francisco.

    Comment by Texas_Dawg — May 5, 2011 @ 12:36 am

  115. Are you kidding? Valencia’s play behind the bag to fire across the field from the chalk line wasn’t impressive? That ball was a hit, until Danny snared it.

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 5, 2011 @ 1:07 am

  116. It wasn’t luck, you moron! Just because he walked a few guys, he was any more or less lucky than other pitchers that throw no hitters? You’re a tool.

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 5, 2011 @ 1:15 am

  117. Liriano may be struggling, but he pitched this game correctly. He’s still not inducing swinging strikes on his fastballs and his release points have 2 clusters, but he didn’t give the sox much to hit. The Sox were looking for fastball strikes and didn’t find many they could hit well. Liriano threw fastballs 52% of the time and he did induce popups, flyouts, and weak grounders for the most part from pitches relatively high or low in the strikezone. He also induced 15% swinging strikes from his offspeed pitches, mainly his changeup.

    xFIP with a game size sample size is a useless measure to begin with and it will be high if there are little or no strikeouts. If anything, Liriano has a new out pitch with his changeup. If he’s not hanging sliders or grooving fastballs he’s going to be unhittable.

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — May 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am

  118. Yes, the White Sox suck. No denying that. But only a fool would say that Liriano held them to no hits last night because he was lucky. How many other no-hitters do you think were done against lineups in which much of the lineup came into the game hitting the ball well?

    Come on!

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am

  119. Amusing.

    Comment by Fred — May 5, 2011 @ 2:13 am

  120. um it was absolutely luck. he walks 6 and struck out 2 and had enormous trouble throwing strikes. he started 19 of 30 PA with ball one. he got hugely lucky, both that his defense came through for him and that he was able to jam guys on pitches they should have hit.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — May 5, 2011 @ 2:25 am

  121. Look, I’m happy you “purists” or “traditionalists” or whatever the hell you dopes like to be called these days found a post on fangraphs you can rally behind… I would appreciate it if you would retire to somewhere private with a box of tissues, however, and leave the rest of us alone.

    Comment by Chris — May 5, 2011 @ 4:16 am

  122. Yea, i get it, he happened not to give up any hits… good for him. he still walked 6 batters in 9 innings, while striking out only 2. He got bailed out by a Whitesox team that came into the game 4th worst in OBP in the AL…

    Comment by Chris — May 5, 2011 @ 4:24 am

  123. See a lot of ESPN hate on here. We should do ESPN hate statistics for the anchors. Like that one late night anchor who will ALWAYS say “she’s a fine one that number nine” or some shit, or “engine engine number nine” EVERY time for the 9th. Or he’ll say “everybody funny, now you actin funny too”. Swear at least every other episode I hear that.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 5, 2011 @ 4:39 am

  124. But I fixed it, so it’s back at 10!

    Comment by Patrick — May 5, 2011 @ 8:42 am

  125. All no hitters are absolutely luck.

    Isn’t that the understood part of it?

    If it wasn’t primarily luck, then they’d happen much more frequently.

    If pitchers could make no hitters happen more often, they absolutely would. They don’t allow hits just to make things interesting or out of empathy.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 5, 2011 @ 10:01 am

  126. Hmm, I actually meant my second comment would get 10 thumbs down… and it’s currently at 10! I assumed the first would get far more…

    Comment by Telo — May 5, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  127. Max Scherzer has a new out pitch with HIS changeup. Holy crap.

    When guys throwing mid/upper 90s start dropping in changeups with excellent movement and location, it really is “game over”. There really is just no realistic way for hitters to adjust … throw in the movement and you need an oar just for a chance to make contact.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 5, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  128. In addition to the no-hit aspect, I heard that this was Liriano’s first complete game at any level of baseball.

    Comment by rrk — May 5, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  129. wouldn’t it have been ruled an error?

    Comment by adohaj — May 5, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  130. I fully agree

    Comment by adohaj — May 5, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  131. It continues to fascinate me how many Internet citizens read these articles and peruse this site just to mindlessly criticize Sabermetrics.

    (or maybe they just copy and paste their mindless cynicism from a master list found at FOX Sports)

    Comment by Matty Brown — May 6, 2011 @ 4:19 am

  132. I’m a little late to this party, but doesn’t Liriano’s performance show a significant problem with using FIP when calculating WAR?

    As you allude to in the article, there are predictive stats and descriptive stats. I’ve brought this up a ton of times, but to me, WAR should be a descriptive stat. It’s meant to describe how much a player contributed to his team’s success, not how much we think he’ll contribute in the future.

    Liriano’s FIP for this game is almost 5. I assume that’s below replacement level, or at least very close. So a guy pitches a complete game, no hit shutout, and it contributes negatively to his WAR for the season? Doesn’t that sound pretty ridiculous?

    The same applies the other way. Fangraphs overrated Liriano’s season last year because his FIP was so much better than his ERA. Sure, he showed skills last year, but the opposing team still scored a run more per game than his FIP would have predicted, and those runs impacted the Twins’ ability to win those games.

    I think Fangraphs needs to revisit its WAR calculation, as right now, it leans to heavily on the predictive rather than the descriptive.

    Comment by noseeum — May 6, 2011 @ 10:20 am

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