A few nuggets — @soxnerd style — on Francisco Liriano, who announced his retirement on Monday:
*Liriano was the last pitcher to no-hit the White Sox.
While pitching for the Twins, the left-hander struck out two and walked six as the Sox were no-hit for the first time in nearly a decade in Minnesota’s 1-0 win before 20,901 at U.S. Cellular Field on May 3, 2011.
*One year, two months and 28 days later, the Sox acquired Liriano making him the only pitcher to no-hit and play for the Sox
*Liriano’s no-no was the first against the Sox since Bret Saberhagen turned the trick on Aug. 26, 1991 in Kansas City. Robin Ventura, the Sox manager when Liriano no-hit the club, was 0-for-3 against Saberhagen.
*Liriano’s no-hitter was the third at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field and the first one by a pitcher not named Mark Buehrle
*Liriano’s no-no was the first by an opponent vs. the Sox in Chicago since Jack Morris’ gem on April 7, 1984 for Detroit … Andy Hawkins’ no-hit loss for the Yankees on July 1, 1990 at Comiskey Park is not considered an official no-hitter because it did not go nine innings
*Liriano’s two strikeouts were tied for the fewest in a no-hitter vs. the Sox with Cleveland’s Addie Joss on April 20, 1910 and St. Louis’ Ernie Koob on May 5, 1917
*His six walks tied Morris for the most against the Sox in a no-hitters
*Liriano went 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) for the 2012 White Sox after being acquired from Minnesota for infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez on July 28th
When he was acquired manager Robin Ventura’s team was riding a five-game winning streak and held a 2.5-game lead in the American League Central.
That 2012 team wound up being one of the most disappointing in recent Sox history.
With Liriano and many others faltering, the Sox flopped down the stretch. The Sox held a three game lead on Sept. 18 but finished the season 4-10 and wound up in second place, three games out.
Things got so bad for Liriano in September he was demoted briefly to the bullpen.
After going 2-0 with a 4.56 ERA in five starts in August, the native of the Dominican Republic was 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA in six games (five starts) in Sept./Oct.
His last appearance for the Sox was a loss on Sept. 25. He was tagged for four runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings as the Sox lost 4-3 in Cleveland and fell into a first-place tie with Detroit. A loss the next day knocked the Sox out of first for good.
*On the brink of free agency, Liriano was 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA with Minnesota when he was obtained by the Sox. That brought his record with the Twins to 50-52 with a 4.33 ERA with 788 strikeouts in 733.1 innings in 156 games (130 starts) from 2005 to 2012.
*Liriano made his last start for the Twins in 2012 against the Sox (loss) in Chicago and his first start for the Sox in 2012 against the Twins (no decision) in Minnesota
*His best outing for the Sox was a victory over the Twins on Sept. 15, 2012 in Minnesota that included a little bit of drama.
Making his second start against his former team, Liriano threw 6.2 no-hit innings before giving up a two-run home run to Trevor Plouffe, one of the Twins’ “Piranhas” as Ozzie Guillen used to call them.
He finished the frame but that was the extent of the outing. Liriano struck out nine and walked two in the Sox 5-3 win.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about a no-hitter,” he said afterward. “I was trying to go deep in the game and throw less pitches each inning. … I was just trying to go deep in the game and give us a chance to win the ballgame.”
*Liriano actually turned his career around during his dark days with the Sox.
According to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article of Aug. 20, 2013, Liriano righted himself during his bullpen banishment.
“In the U.S. Cellular Field bullpen last season, Liriano watched teammate Brett Myers command his fastball with an over-the-top delivery,” the article said. “Throughout his career, Liriano had thrown with a three-quarters arm slot and struggled with fastball command. After watching Myers, Liriano decided to experiment with a more over-the-top style and found he had better control of his fastball from an elevated arm slot. In the winter, he practiced the motion over and over, building muscle memory.
“The result? Liriano has dramatically improved his fastball command this season in making a strong case for NL Comeback Player of the Year honors.”
That adjustment would have been nice in late August of 2012 instead of a month later.
After becoming a free agent, Liriano signed with Pittsburgh and did win the NL Comeback Player of the Year and received Cy Young votes in 2013 (16-8, 3.02 ERA).