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Dodgers lean to the right against Francisco Liriano, Pirates

Scott Van Slyke and Kiké Hernandez both start for the Dodgers on Saturday against left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Scott Van Slyke and Kiké Hernandez both start for the Dodgers on Saturday against left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers look to rebound from Friday's loss with a shot at Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano in the middle game of the weekend series on Saturday afternoon at PNC Park.

The Dodgers are going heavily right-handed on Saturday, with Kiké Hernandez starting in center field for Joc Pederson, and Scott Van Slyke in left field in place of Andre Ethier.

Hernandez is hitting .396/.455/.708 with 11 extra-base hits in 55 plate appearances against southpaws this season, while Van Slyke is hitting .295/.467/.500 with two home runs and three doubles in 60 plate appearances against left-handers.

Switch hitter Jimmy Rollins, hitting .340/.407/.642 overall in his last 14 games, including 3-for-4 with a walk on Friday, is hitting .308/.357/.462 in 71 plate appearances as a right-handed batter in 2015.

In addition, A.J. Ellis gets the start at catcher in a day game after the night game, the second start for Ellis in five games since returning from the disabled list. Ellis has reached base via hit or walk in 12 straight games, hitting .343/.465/.571 during that span.

When Yasmani Grandal and Ellis have both been on the active roster this season, Ellis has started 15 of 17 games against left-handed starters, with Grandal starting once and Austin Barnes starting once, the latter in a doubleheader.

The Dodgers are 11-10 in games started by left-handed starters this season, and have won seven of their last nine games against southpaw starters.

Alex Guerrero is back at third base, his fifth start in 10 games since Justin Turner was placed on the disabled list.

The Dodgers bullpen pitched three scoreless innings on Friday before coughing up the winning run to Pittsburgh in the 10th, but that remains the focus.

Through June, the Dodgers bullpen had a 3.17 ERA, a 27.2-percent strikeout rate, an 8.3-percent walk rate, and opponents hit .224/.290/.334 against them with 16 home runs in 919 plate appearances.

Since the start of July, the bullpen has a 6.17 ERA, a 24.7-percent strikeout rate, an 8.8-percent walk rate, with opponents hitting .299/.369/.509 against them, with 16 home runs in 377 plate appearances.

One way to clean up the end of the game is to shorten it, and Dodgers starters have lasted at least six innings for seven straight games, one shy of the team's longest streak of the season (the club got eight straight starts from May 15-23).

The current members of the rotation haven't lasted fewer than six innings in a start since July 21, when Brett Anderson left early with an Achilles injury.

Mat Latos gets the call on Saturday, after pitching six innings in his Dodgers debut on Sunday at home. He has lasted at least six innings in each of his last six starts. He is averaging 6.46 innings per start since returning from the disabled list in June, and the only time in eight starts that he didn't last six innings he went 5⅔ innings.

Latos has a 2.79 ERA during that span, with 44 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Game info

Time: 1:05 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, Fox Sports 1