Orioles-Tigers Preview

Brad Penny has one more chance to prove he’s deserving of a spot

on the Detroit Tigers’ postseason roster.

The veteran right-hander looks to avoid another subpar effort

Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park.

With ace Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer making

up Detroit’s AL division series rotation, and 14-game winner Rick

Porcello likely a long reliever for the first round and the fourth

starter if the club reaches the league championship series, Penny

(10-11, 5.31 ERA) appears to be the odd man out.

He hasn’t done much to help his cause in his last five starts,

going 1-2 with an 8.28 ERA.

“It’s frustrating,” Penny told the Tigers’ official website.

“I’m just going to keep working, keep going out there and trying to

improve.”

Penny, who allowed seven runs in four innings of a 10-2 loss at

Kansas City on Tuesday, insists his own postseason fate has not

become a distraction.

“That’s not something I can concern myself with,” said Penny,

who won a World Series with Florida in 2003. “I’ve just got to go

out and pitch every fifth day and whenever I get the

opportunity.”

He has given up four runs and two homers over 5 1-3 innings in

each of his two starts this season versus Baltimore, going 1-0 in

those contests.

Penny now looks to help the Tigers (91-67) bounce back after

Verlander saw his streak of 12 consecutive winning starts snapped

in Saturday’s 6-5 loss. The defeat dropped Detroit one game behind

Texas for home-field advantage in the first round.

“I’m not worried that it is gone, and I don’t care that I didn’t

get the loss,” Verlander said. “We lost. That’s all that

matters.”

Miguel Cabrera homered for the second straight game and finished

with three hits as Detroit overcame a four-run deficit to tie the

game in the eighth. Baltimore (67-91), however, regained the lead

with a suicide squeeze in the top of the ninth.

Cabrera is 14 for 31 (.452) with four homers and nine RBIs

against the Orioles in 2011.

Orioles rookie outfielder Matt Angle opened the game with his

first career homer and Mark Reynolds hit his 37th as Baltimore won

for the ninth time in 12 games.

While Reynolds has hit more than 30 homers in three straight

seasons, he’s also 10 strikeouts shy from his fourth consecutive

season with at least 200.

After finishing tied for second among rookies with 10 wins last

season, Brian Matusz (1-8, 10.68) concludes his disappointing

abbreviated 2011 for the Orioles on Sunday.

Matusz, who missed the first two months of the season with a

muscle strain and also spent 1 1/2 months at Triple-A Norfolk, has

allowed 11 runs in three innings while going 0-1 in his last two

starts. The left-hander gave up six runs in 1 2-3 innings of an

18-9 loss at Boston on Monday.

“It’s tough, but I’ve got to keep working and learn from

mistakes,” Matusz said. “It will come around. It will happen. It’s

just that I have to keep working. I know I have the stuff.”

Matusz has won both his career starts versus Detroit while

allowing two runs over 11 innings, but neither of those outings

took place this year.