When Radhames Liz is on, he can be one of the most dominating pitchers in the minors. The 23-year-old Dominican righthander was brilliant on Friday, tossing a nine-inning complete game no-hitter in Double-A Bowie’s 2-0 win against Harrisburg.
“He was throwing BBs out there,” Bowie manager Bien Figueroa said. “And he used all his pitches–his fastball was outstanding with great life, he threw his breaking ball for a strike; a lot of 3-2 breaking balls, and he was effective with his changeup against lefthanded hitters.”
Liz threw 120 pitches in the game, and did not lose any velocity, topping out at 96 mph with his fastball in the ninth. In fact, Liz, who is 4-2, 3.45 with 60 strikeouts in 60 innings this season, has seen more jump in his fastball over his last five starts. Early in the year, Liz’ velocity sat in the 91-93 mph range, but over his last five outings he’s averaged 94-95 and touched some 96s.
“When he’s on, he’s like Daniel Cabrera,” Figueroa said. “Just unhittable. His changeup has gotten much better this season–that’s been a big thing he’s been working on. Just getting more consistent and being able to throw it for a strike when he wants to.”
Another plus for Liz has been the development of his sinker. Both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs have tremendous life, and it’s been a struggle at times for Liz to be able to command both pitches since the Orioles signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. But he’s pounding the bottom of the zone and relying on ground balls more than strikeout numbers.
“He’s getting that he doesn’t have to strike everybody out, that he can pitch to contact down in the zone and it’s OK,” Figueroa said. “His sinker’s like 93 (mph), so he gets a lot of miss-hits on it. He’s been getting better. He’s more concentrated on getting ground balls and pitching to the bottom of the zone in his last few starts.”
This wasn’t the first time Liz has been involved in a no-hitter. As part of a combined effort, Liz struck out 13 over five hitless innings on April 12 last year in his first start of the season for high Class A Frederick.
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