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For the first time this season, Dodgers actually have peace in their rotation

July 1, 2010 |  7:39 am
And now for something that could take getting used to: a Dodgers rotation that doesn’t require screaming into the night.

Dare it be said, at this ever-so-brief moment, the Dodgers’ beleaguered rotation is OK. Actually on the verge of pretty good.

It’s been three months in the making, but for this week, the Dodgers have a set, five-man rotation of their choice. Unless you want to go and get all Cliff Lee on us.

It is the first time all season the Dodgers can actually say that. They have the five guys they want -- Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Chad Billingsley and John Ely -- all healthy, all pitching reasonably well.

It’s been almost three months in the making. It’s been through the failed Charlie Haeger experiment. Losing Padilla for almost two months. An poor spot start by Ramon Ortiz. Throwing green Carlos Monasterios into the soup. Losing Billingsley to the disabled list.

But right now they have a set five and they’re all healthy. Maybe it’s not exactly Sandy Koufax-Don Drysdale-Claude Osteen-Don Sutton material, but it’s light years ahead of where they were.

They got a little lucky with the unexpected emergence of Ely. And after it appeared he hit a wall, he’s had two strong starts in a row (1.29 ERA).

Kershaw has been terrific since that ugly May 4 loss to Milwaukee, going 7-2 with a 2.38 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Kuroda has a 2.67 ERA in five June starts.

Billingsley returned from the DL to beat the Giants on Monday and set the tone for the three-game sweep.

And then there’s Padilla, who after a shaky first game back in Boston following his lengthy DL stint, has come back with two consecutive strong starts.

It’s peace in our time.

It could help steady a beaten-down bullpen. It could stabilize the Dodgers and lead them back atop the National League West.

It could also self-destruct at any moment. But for this moment, it’s as good as it’s been.

-- Steve Dilbeck