Royals-Tigers Preview

The Detroit Tigers gave Brad Ausmus a victory in his managerial debut.

Now Ausmus gets to hand the ball to the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner in his second game.

Max Scherzer begins his season for the Tigers on Wednesday when they continue a three-game home series against the Kansas City Royals.

Detroit won 4-3 on Monday in the first game for Ausmus after replacing the legendary Jim Leyland.

”There’s two things that could have spoiled opening day for me,” Ausmus said. ”One, if we lost. And two, if the sun wasn’t out. Because for me opening day, the sun is out, fans are having fun, they’re eating their popcorn, drinking their beer. The energy is higher.”

After a day off, Ausmus will give Scherzer his first start. Scherzer will be hard-pressed to top his start to 2013 when he won his first 13 decisions en route to going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and finishing second in the majors with 240 strikeouts to capture his first Cy Young Award.

The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.86 ERA in seven starts against Kansas City over the last two seasons, with Detroit winning all of those contests. Scherzer figures to be careful against Alex Gordon, who is 11 for 28 with two homers and three doubles versus him.

"I’m not going to say it’s any different because from my end, I’ve always respected what they’ve been able to do," Scherzer told the Tigers’ official website. "Even when they have struggled as a team, they’ve also always been very good offensively. They’ve always done a lot at the plate."

The Tigers went 14-2 at home in 2013 with Scherzer, who is in the final year of his contract. He will take the mound for the first time since allowing three runs over 6 1-3 innings in Leyland’s last game, a 5-2 loss at Boston in Game 6 of the AL championship series.

Scherzer also led the majors last season with a 6.80 run support average.

Whether that trend continues Wednesday will depend on how the Tigers fare against Jason Vargas, who will make his Royals debut after going 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA for the Los Angeles Angels in 2013.

Vargas signed a four-year, $32 million deal Nov. 22, and said at the time that he is thrilled with the direction of Kansas City.

”What excited me about the team is how I’ve seen the team grow and progress a lot over the last four or five years,” Vargas said. ”Their defense is spectacular and I’m just hoping I can be a piece of the puzzle that helps move us forward.”

The left-hander is 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA in five starts versus the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is 3 for 8 with a homer, double and four walks against him.

Cabrera had a double in three at-bats Monday in his first game since signing a $292 million, 10-year deal last week. The Tigers won when Alex Gonzalez greeted reliever Greg Holland with an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

”I get paid to get people out, and I didn’t do it today,” said Holland, who allowed batters to hit .170 last season. ”We’re not here to fight and compete. We’re here to win.”