CHICAGO — The last time a Tigers pitcher made three consecutive starts against the same opponent, Milt Wilcox faced the Brewers thrice in 13 days in the summer of 1978. He shut out the Brewers with nine strikeouts in the first meeting, then gave up five earned runs on nine hits in each of the next two outings. Still, the win — one of 13 for them that season — was big in a year when he told former Detroit Free Press writer Jim Hawkins that he could “no longer afford to be mediocre.”
As Matt Manning finished off five scoreless innings against the White Sox on Saturday with a nasty curveball to fan Leury García for his career-best seventh strikeout of the night, the sentiment could’ve been similar. Like Milt and Milwaukee, Manning faced Chicago three times in 13 days. Unlike Wilcox, Manning saved his best outing for last, even if it ended up in vain once the White Sox rallied off Detroit’s depleted bullpen for a 5-4 Tigers loss at Guaranteed Rate FIeld.