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Kershaw: 'I still think we can beat' Padres

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Clayton Kershaw respects what the San Diego Padres have done in the offseason, but the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander isn't ready to crown the NL West rivals as division champions.

"(I) don't really care who's the favorite or not," Kershaw said when asked about the Padres' rise, according to the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett. "What they've done is great. They've improved their team. They've gotten big-name guys. They've got good players. They've extended some of their guys.

"What they're doing is great. It's great for the game, and it's great for players individually. I still think we can beat them."

The Dodgers have won the division nine of the last 10 seasons. However, the Padres beat Los Angeles in four games in the 2022 NLDS.

San Diego added Xander Bogaerts and Nelson Cruz to a lineup that features Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Jake Cronenworth. Meanwhile, the pitching staff is headlined by Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, and Josh Hader.

L.A. also lost a ton of talent in the offseason, including Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Heaney, and Tyler Anderson. However, the club still employs stars such as Kershaw, Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Julio Urias, Will Smith, and Max Muncy.

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