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06/03/10 8:14 PM ET

Royals, Tigers look to Chen, Scherzer in opener

When the Tigers (28-25) open up a three-game set with the Royals (22-32) in Kansas City on Friday, two starting pitchers will have something to prove.

Detroit's Max Scherzer, making his second start since returning from the Minors, will take on Kansas City's Bruce Chen, who will be making his second start since taking over for the injured Gil Meche in the rotation.

Chen, an 11-year veteran, pitched four innings and gave up only one run before hitting his 75-pitch limit in his first start of the season. If he is effective, he will be able to go longer against the Tigers as the Royals continue to stretch out the lefty.

"I look for Bruce to bump him between somewhere between 75 and 90," manager Ned Yost said. "It's almost like a Spring Training progression to get his pitch count built back up. But Bruce is a real durable guy and he bounces back really good."

Scherzer (2-4, 6.42 ERA) struck out 14 batters in 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start back in the Majors, the highest percentage of outs coming by strikeout for a pitcher who threw at least that many innings in MLB history.

Still, the second-year pitcher will have to show that he can offer consistent production while learning to pitch deeper into games.

"I believe in my abilities and that I'm a good Major League pitcher," Scherzer said after his last start. "I'm not saying that I'm going to go strike out 14, but I'm going to go put quality starts together. That's what I need to do to help this team win so we can get back into first place."

Tigers: Tough road ahead
Detroit is just three games back of division leader Minnesota, but 11-15 on the road this season. ... Miguel Cabrera has hit .351 with 13 home runs against the Royals in his career. ... Cabrera is now tied for the Major League lead with 16 home runs and leads the Majors with 51 RBIs.

Royals: Offense aplenty for KC, opponents
Kansas City is second in the American League in batting average (.277). ... The Royals are last in the American League in team ERA (4.81). ... KC has been worse at home (10-17) than it has on the road (12-16).

Worth noting
The Tigers and Royals have split the first six head-to-head matchups this season.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.