The Los Angeles Dodgers hope to return to the post season in 2011 after a disappointing 2010 season in which they finished fourth in the National League West. Expectations were high in 2010, coming off a 2009 season in which the Dodgers finished with a 95-67 record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Multiple starting pitching signings have the Dodgers feeling like one of the National League's best once again. Coming into Spring Training in 2010, the Dodgers starting rotation had several question marks. First of all, who were their fourth and fifth starters after Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda? Possibly Vicente Padilla, but then who after him? Secondly, after struggling in the second half of 2009, could Billingsley return to his previously dominant self that carried the Dodgers to a 2008 division title and the best record in baseball in the first half of 2009?
While Padilla pitched well when healthy as the Dodgers fourth starter last season, the Dodgers never found success from their fifth starter in the rotation, which featured a combination of John Ely, Carlos Monasterios, and Charlie Haeger. The three of them combined to finish 7-19 with an ERA well over 5.00. However, this year the Dodgers should be back to their winning ways due to their starting pitching, as they have so many times in their storied history. Here are 10 reasons why: