Well, it's hard to overstate how embarrassing this is.
The White Sox welcomed what was the worst team in baseball (and riding a six-game skid) to U.S. Cellular Tuesday night, and faced Francisco Liriano, a man with a 9.13 ERA coming in who was one start away from possibly being kicked out of the rotation...and not even a good rotation.
And he threw a damn no-hitter.
Under normal circumstances, Francisco Liriano is not a man that anyone
would scoff at being able to throw a no-hitter. But normal
circumstances have gone the way of the mesh tank-top this season; the
White Sox feature a roster full of proven veteran hitters who can't hit,
and some strange broken version of the lefty ace has been staggering
around all year in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
That broken guy--or someone who looks a lot like him--is still around.
Liriano couldn't guess where his stuff was going most of the night: he
walked six batters, only struck out two, and worked behind the count all
night (First pitch-strikes to 11 out of 30 batters).
Fortunately, even when he's a threat to fling pitches to the backstop,
Liriano's stuff is still tricky, as he earned 12 swinging strikes. He's
a hell of a pitcher, a joy to watch when he's not filleting the Sox and
hanging their pelts on his wall. It took a lot for him to grit through
this without his control or even his best stuff, and Denard Span and
Danny Valencia made some great plays to keep the no-no alive. Hat tips,
Now that we've progressed through that necessity, back to wallowing in
the horror that was Tuesday's night effort from the men who wear the
colors we like. Liriano's game score was 83, which is the worst score for a no-hitter ever. He threw less than half of his four-seam fastballs for strikes, and got only 53.7% of his offerings in the zone total.
You can understand why Liriano didn't allow any hits, because he didn't
offer anything that was remotely hittable. What's perplexing is why on
Earth the Sox didn't let him walk his way out of the ballgame. Instead,
fans were treated to waves of Chicago hitters chasing pitches out of
the zone in friendly counts, then displaying their version of the "I
can't believe I just did something that stupid" face. Beckham's is the
most amusing, Paulie's made me sadder than anything in a baseball game
has business doing.
Not to mock the players, but as Colin from SSS examined today,
this team couldn't be more obviously pressing their way deeper into a
slump even if they were soliciting fan suggestions on their swings over
Twitter. Obviously no one's really sure how something like this is
fixed. If someone does, they're already employed elsewhere and not
Many will suggest firing the management, specifically hitting coach Greg
Walker, which is about as sure a bet as sacrificing a goat to actually
achieve anything. When the area of the team that you're in control in
is regularly reaching new levels of awful with no sign of improvement,
well....at least Walk should have the sense to not express his shock,
merely his dismay, if that measure is taken.
Just as clearly as last night's 6-run "breakthrough" was just one game,
so is this one. Whether Sox hitters will react to this new low by
pressing even worse than they already are, or losing their fear of
failure because they already failed as thoroughly as you can fail in
baseball besides accidentally killing co-worker, will probably decide if
this slump continues long enough for lingering playoff hopes to remain.
For the "All-In" movement, this can be nothing shot of disastrous. Sox
fans don't like cold, Sox fans don't like losing, and Sox fan have no
love in the world for Minnesota, but being embarrassed to be identified
with their team trumps all those annoyances. It's just one game when
factoring in the team's 162-game record, but fans tend to remember
emblematic moments of suckitude, and plenty form long-lasting opinions
off of it.
The Sox just provided the most memorably awful offensive performance of
any MLB team this season, getting out from under it could be a bit of a
There's no way I didn't fly too far off the handle with this, so let's check some different perspectives
J.J. and Jim both have recaps
Mike DePilla analyzed the team's struggles.
Future Sox has its top prospects of April.
Also, J.J. explores Juan Pierre's terribleness, and how David Wells was a jerk
Jim previewed this awful Twins' series, and here's another link to Colin's piece on cascading failure.
I use BrooksBaseball.net all the time, and they're trying to rally up people to go to a Saber Seminar
that will use its proceeds to support cancer research. If for some
reason you're going to be in Cambridge, MA during the 3rd weekend of
May, it looks like an informative time.