Tigers close on high note as rivalry grows

Detroit Tigers

CHICAGO — While the Tigers took their last at-bats, packed up and headed home Sunday, the White Sox readied for more baseball. The contrast wasn’t lost on Detroit’s young players, before and after Sunday’s season-ending 5-2 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox are where the Tigers are trying to get, atop the American League Central, after being where Detroit is now, coming out of a rebuild. The Tigers have a lot of time ahead to think about how to bridge the gap. They’ve already spent three days pondering it.

“I think we’re building a little bit of a rivalry with this team,” said Matt Manning, whose five scoreless innings Saturday marked one of the Tigers’ bright spots of the series. “Where we want to be, that’s where they’re at, and that’s what we’re coming for.”

Sunday’s victory didn’t make much of a difference in that regard, other than to finish Detroit’s season with a 77-85 record, the team’s best year since 2016. But the attitude that took hold over the course of the year, the attitude that lifted Detroit out of a 9-24 start to the season, continued into the final day, even with several veterans out of the lineup for rest.

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