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Howie Kendrick back in starting lineup

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers go for a third straight win on Saturday night, and will have Howie Kendrick back at second base, his first game since Aug. 9.

Kendrick starts at second base and is batting second in the middle game against the Pirates, one day after getting activated from the disabled list. Kendrick on Aug. 8 was 2-for-5 in Pittsburgh, including a single in two at-bats against Francisco Liriano, who starts for the Pirates on Saturday night.

In his career, Kendrick is 9-for-19 (.474) with two doubles, a home run, a triple and a walk against the southpaw Liriano.

Chase Utley took ground balls at third base again before batting practice at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.

Bullpen improving

What better time to praise the bullpen than on a night that, on average, they will be needed the least?

Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers on Saturday night, looking to win his 10th straight decision. He is averaging 7.17 innings per start on the season, tops in the majors.

Since getting swept in Houston, the Dodgers have won 18 of 23 games, and during that span the bullpen has a 2.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP during that span, per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, with opposing batters hitting .221/.285/.351 against the Dodgers relief corps.

Chris Hatcher has been very effective since his return from the disabled list and has seized the eighth-inning role.

Hatcher since his return has a 1.20 ERA in 15 games, allowing only two solo home runs, with 18 strikeouts and four walks. His strikeout rate during that span is 31 percent.

"Our guys have actually thrown the ball well," manager Don Mattingly said on Friday. "Hatch has pitched well since he came back. We've seen over the last week or so he's had that eighth-inning situation, and when we had the one opportunity for a save, it was Hatch. So he's pushed himself into that spot."

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA