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Tigers' Alfredo Simon, Joba Chamberlain accomplish dubious feats in loss to Pirates

Alfredo Simon and Joba Chamberlain were historically bad on Wednesday evening.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers lost 9-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. All nine Pirates runs came off of two Tigers pitchers, six from starter Alfredo Simon and the other three off of reliever Joba Chamberlain. Both of these pitchers started out the season strong but have been struggling lately. Simon has an ERA of 6.09 in his last six starts while Chamberlain has given up eight earned runs in his last four innings of work. Unfortunately, both pitchers combined to do something on Wednesday that not too many other Tigers pitchers have done in the past.

Simon gave up 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings, an unfortunate ratio, to say the least. This has already happened once this year, by Tim Hudson on May 7 against the Miami Marlins. However, this is a pretty rare feat for a Tigers pitcher. The last Tigers starter to allow 15 hits before Simon was Scott Sanders on April 14, 1998, making Simon only the second Tiger to accomplish this in the last 50 years. Before Sanders, you have to go all the way to June 28, 1961 when Don Mossi gave up 15 hits against the Chicago White Sox. Altogether, it has now happened 62 times in Tigers history. However, most of those happened back in the 1920s and '30s when pitchers were expected to pitch complete games. Simon and Sanders are the only two Tigers starters to allow 15 hits in fewer than six innings.

Player Date Team Opponent IP H ER
Alfredo Simon 7/1/2015 DET PIT 5 2/3 15 6
Scott Sanders 4/14/1998 DET TEX 4 16 11

Even more rare than the 15-hit game is a game where a pitcher coughs up at least 15 hits while also striking out at least seven batters. I suppose it stands to reason that if a guy is getting hit hard enough to give up all those hits, he's not fooling anyone. Simon had both things going on. The last pitcher before Simon to give up at least 15 hits while also striking out at least seven batters was Mark Mulder back in 2000 when he was with Oakland. It's only happened four times since 1980. In that same time span we witnessed 14 perfect games.

Joba Chamberlain gave up four hits in 2/3 inning, and three of them were solo home runs. Allowing three home runs in a game is not that uncommon, even as a relief pitcher. Joba become the sixth reliever already this year to do so. Altogether, it has now happened 28 times in Tigers history. However, you have to go back six years to August 11, 2009 when Chris Lambert gave up three home runs against the Boston Red Sox for the last time a Tigers reliever had done so. The thing about that game is that Lambert's home runs were spread across five innings of work after starter Rick Porcello only lasted one inning.

Chamberlain becomes the third Tigers reliever to give up three home runs in one inning or less. Chris Spurling (on July 18, 2005) and Jose Lima (on September 12, 1996) are the only others to do so.

Player Date Team Opponent IP H ER HR
Joba Chamberlain 7/1/2015 DET PIT 2/3 4 3 3
Chris Spurling 7/18/2005 DET CHW 1/3 5 5 3
Jose Lima 9/12/1996 DET NYY 1 5 6 3

The Tigers' pitching staff has now allowed 344 runs, third most in the American League. If the Tigers are going to make a run at the playoffs, they are going to need to upgrade both their starting rotation and their bullpen. No game has shown that more than this one.