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Yimi Garcia leads strong Dodgers bullpen

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

We won't see Yimi Garcia pitch on Saturday against the Padres, as the Dodgers reliever has pitched each of the last three days. But Garcia has been the key piece in a revamped bullpen that to date has been very effective for the Dodgers.

And he's not alone.

Opposing batters against Garcia are hitting just .091 (3-for-33) this season, with all three hits singles. He has walked only three, one intentional, and leads major league relief pitchers with 16 strikeouts.

Garcia has allowed just one run in his nine appearances, and in eight of the nine times he started at the beginning of an inning he has struck out two in that inning.

The Dodgers bullpen as a group ranks fourth in the majors with a 2.54 ERA and are second in strikeouts with 63, in just 49⅔ innings. Dodgers relievers lead the majors in FIP (1.96), xFIP (2.72), strikeout rate (30.6%), strikeout rate minus walk rate (21.8%), and are second in SIERA (2.43).

The club is 14th in the majors with an 8.7-percent bullpen walk rate, but that's an improvement over 2014, when the Dodgers 'pen walked 9.9 percent of hitters, ranking 27th in baseball.

The Dodgers are also just 21st in bullpen innings at 49⅔, so the relievers haven't been overworked just yet.

Just wait until Kenley Jansen returns.

Trying to get the ball to the bullpen on Saturday night is Brandon McCarthy, coming off his best start of the season, with six scoreless innings on Sunday at home. In his one start against the Padres this season, on April 8 at Dodger Stadium, McCarthy allowed four runs in five innings, but also struck out nine and got the win, thanks in large part to three home runs by Adrian Gonzalez.

McCarthy has only three walks in his three starts this season, and with 25 strikeouts ranks seventh in baseball in strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 25 strikeouts are the most for McCarthy in any three-start stretch since Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, 2011.

Ian Kennedy will be activated from the disabled list after missing two weeks with a left hamstring strain to start for the Padres. The right-hander hasn't beaten the Dodgers since Sept. 11, 2012. Since the start of 2013, Kennedy is 0-5 with a 4.77 ERA in nine starts against the Dodgers, and his teams (Arizona and San Diego) are 2-7 in those games.

But more importantly:

Game info

Time: 5:40 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network