Detroit has won 16 of its last 22 against Kansas City after Saturday's 8-7 victory, while the Royals sit at 3-7 on their current 11-game road trip. The Tigers are still in third place in the American League Central -- 4 1/2 games behind the front-running White Sox.
Scherzer (7-5, 4.98 ERA), who will oppose Royals lefty Everett Teaford, will make his first start since June 28 at Tampa Bay. Scherzer beat the Rays, marking his fourth straight quality start with at least seven strikeouts, but tweaked his left hamstring while doing conditioning work the next day. The injury wasn't serious, but the Tigers dealt with it cautiously and held Scherzer out of his scheduled outing on Tuesday.
"If push came to shove, I could've pitched today, if we really needed it," Scherzer said at the time. "But at the same time, we've got to be smart about these things. Hamstrings are recurring injuries. Throughout the league, guys who try to come back early from hamstring injuries, it's usually not a good thing."
Because the injury was to Scherzer's landing leg, he needs the hamstring at full strength in order to pitch with force and balance, he said. The righty has done that over his past three starts, allowing five runs on 14 hits in 20 innings, with three walks and 26 strikeouts.
"One [factor], I think he's using his fastball a little more," catcher Alex Avila said. "The other is his slider has been more consistent. He's always had the great changeup, but being able to throw that slider to lefties has been important to him, and being able to throw it for strikes."
Teaford (1-1, 4.70) earned the nod for Sunday with his effort last Monday at Toronto, where he went a career-high seven innings, while giving up three runs on five hits. This will be the 28-year-old's fourth start this season and seventh total, to go along with 25 relief appearances.
The extent of Teaford's experience against the Tigers is a three-inning relief outing last July 9 that earned him his only career save. Detroit was hitting .247 against southpaws and .275 against righties entering Saturday's game.
"We feel that it is a good matchup for us to start left-handers, but you still have to executive your pitches," Teaford said. "My game plan is to not get embarrassed, especially when you're going against guys like [Miguel] Cabrera and [Prince] Fielder. I'll have to minimize walks and other freebies and keep guys off the bases."
Royals: Gordon doing his job in top spot
Left fielder Alex Gordon singled, doubled and drew a walk in five trips to the plate on Saturday, lifting his on-base percentage to .363. His OBP is better than .400 since he moved into the leadoff spot full time on May 27.
Manager Ned Yost believes Gordon will hit in the middle of the order in the long run, but hitting coach Kevin Seitzer sees a player who is clicking in the No. 1 spot.
"Alex has done a great job and he's a really good OBP guy for us," Seitzer said. "I think his mindset is that he needs to have good at-bats and get on base, whereas if he is batting in the three-, four- or five-hole, he feels like he needs to drive the ball well."
While the Royals play in Detroit on Sunday, three of the organization's top prospects will be on the field at Kauffman Stadium for the Sirius XM Futures Game, which will be televised on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. CT.
Triple-A Omaha outfielder Wil Myers and pitcher Jake Odorizzi will play for the U.S. team, managed by Royals Hall of Famer George Brett. Class A Wilmington pitcher Yordano Ventura will suit up for the World team and manager Bernie Williams, a former Yankees All-Star
Tigers: Supporting cast swinging the bats
Cabrera and Fielder get a lot of the attention, but a couple of other Tigers hitters have been doing damage lately.
Austin Jackson went 3-for-5 on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games and is batting .417 (25-for-60) over that stretch, with two doubles, three triples and two home runs. Delmon Young notched blasted a key two-run homer, his third straight game with a dinger.
Tigers relievers owned a 2.04 ERA with 144 strikeouts in their last 141 innings before Saturday, when closer Jose Valverde surrendered three runs in the ninth inning. But Joaquin Benoit struck out two in a scoreless eighth and now has a 1.52 ERA and 34 K's in 29 2/3 innings since May 5.
Scherzer held the Royals to three runs in six innings while picking up the win on April 18 in Kansas City. He sports a 3.96 ERA in 11 career starts against the Royals.
Before homering on Saturday, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder was hitting .156 (7-for-45) in his career against the Royals, his lowest average against any team (minimum five games). Fielder entered the day with zero homers and one extra-base hit against KC.