Scherzer will try to defeat the Kansas City Royals for the third time this season Monday night in the opener of a four-game set at Comerica Park.
Verlander became the majors’ first 20-game winner in Saturday’s 6-4 win at Minnesota. Detroit (73-60) has been searching for other starters to pitch well.
Scherzer (13-7, 4.21 ERA) could be filling the bill. The hard-throwing right-hander is 4-3 with a 2.97 ERA over his last nine outings. His 13 victories are second on the team and represent a career high.
Scherzer lasted five innings Wednesday and yielded two runs in a 3-2, 10-inning loss at Tampa Bay.
The Missouri native is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts against Kansas City (55-79) this season. Melky Cabrera(notes), Billy Butler(notes) and Alex Gordon(notes) - the Royals’ three best hitters - have combined to go 5 for 23 against him.
Detroit enters this series with the biggest division lead in the AL, a six-game cushion on Chicago in the Central. The Tigers finished 5-2 on their road trip after Sunday’s 11-4 loss to the Twins.
“When they got to 11, I think we all were kind of like, ‘Well, it’s been a pretty good trip,’” manager Jim Leyland said.
The Tigers played Sunday without Ryan Raburn(notes) (jammed finger) and have been without fellow outfielder Brennan Boesch(notes) (sprained thumb) for the last four games. It is unclear when either will return.
The Royals have lost four straight starts by Luke Hochevar(notes) (8-10, 4.91), who is 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA in that span. He yielded three runs over six innings Wednesday and did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss at Toronto.
The right-hander will face the Tigers for the fourth time this year, going 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA in the first three while matching up with Scherzer twice.
Miguel Cabrera is 12 for 25 with two homers in his career against Hochevar, including 3 for 8 this year.
Jhonny Peralta(notes) has homered twice against Hochevar in 2011. Peralta is 16 for 39 with seven extra-base hits against the Royals in 2011, helping the Tigers build an 8-4 edge in the season series.
Kansas City salvaged the finale of a three-game set in Cleveland with Sunday’s 2-1 victory. They had lost one-run games the two previous days.
“We could have had all three of them,” manager Ned Yost said. “The first two games were hard losses to take, but it shows you the resiliency of this team. They show up to play every day and battle and stay after it. That is a great sign.”
Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera is batting .398 with six homers and 20 RBIs over his last 28 road games.