Pablo Sandoval (career-low .268 average in 2010) and Barry Zito (nine wins) rebound and energize a roster that hasn't changed much. That and the stellar staff are enough for a postseason return.
Injuries in the rotation leave them with even less margin for error than last year; an overworked bullpen and an offense that is again below average make 90 wins a stretch.
Ubaldo Jimenez is dominant in the first and second halves, and No. 2 starter Jorge De La Rosa has a breakout year that helps the Rox challenge for the wild card.
Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez dive from their stellar 2010s, and a sputtering offense puts pressure on a pen with the majors' fourth-worst saves rate in '10.
Clayton Kershaw (212 K's last season) leads the division's best rotation, and resurgent years by Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier help them challenge the Giants for the division title.