The veteran right-hander looks to avoid another subpar effort Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park.
With ace Justin Verlander(notes), Doug Fister(notes) and Max Scherzer(notes) making up Detroit’s AL division series rotation, and 14-game winner Rick Porcello(notes) 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(notes) 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.
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.
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.