Dodgers News: Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw & Dave Roberts Downplay Padres Series

After tearing through the regular season to finish with a franchise-record 111 wins, the Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a shocking defeat to the San Diego Padres in 2022 National League Division Series.

The Dodgers were eliminated in four games, with their season coming to a grinding halt on a rainy night at Petco Park. The NLDS was the second time the Dodgers and Padres had played in the postseason.

It added more credence to their recent history lending to a rivalry existing. And with the Dodgers and Padres playing for the first time this season and with six games over the next 10 days, it’s brought back memories of the 2022 NLDS and possibly making an statement.

However, Mookie Betts dismissed the notion that the Dodgers are putting extra emphasis on facing the Padres, particularly with MLB’s balanced schedule, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“No. Not at all,” Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said. “For what? Neither team has anything to prove. You just go play. I mean, there’s 30 baseball teams. There’s no sense in worrying about only beating the Padres or only beating the Dodgers. To win the whole thing we’ve got to beat 30 teams.”

While acknowledging fans of both clubs see might see the series differently, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed the sentiment Betts shared:

While acknowledging that the crowds at Petco Park this weekend and Dodger Stadium a week later might disagree, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “in all honesty, it’s another series.”

“I don’t think we can look at it any other way,” Roberts said. “You can look at it in totality, we dominated those guys in the regular season (winning 14 of 19 games in 2022) and got eliminated in the first round. So if you look at it in the broader picture, it’s not that impactful.”

To no surprise, Clayton Kershaw also isn’t making more of facing the Padres in what he believes is a challenging NL West division:

“I’ll say what I always say – we need to win any game we can,” Kershaw said. “This division is going to be a grind. I think everybody’s got the capability of playing well and winning. So we have to play well against them (the Padres). I don’t think that’s any different than anyone else.”

When both teams take the field at Petco Park on Friday night they each will be just removed from a day off. The Dodgers are on a season-best six-game winning streak, while the Padres are 7-3 in their last 10.

The stretch of play from L.A. and San Diego has added more intrigue after both got off to subpar starts and struggled through much of April.

Dodgers pitching changes for Padres

With Gavin Stone making his MLB debut against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, it appeared Dustin May would start in the first game against the Padres on Friday.

However, the Dodgers switched things up and elected to have Kershaw take the ball in the series opener, giving May two extra days of rest. That figures to be of benefit considering May is coming off a career-high 104 pitches in his last outing on April 28 — which came six days after throwing 96 pitches, his second-highest total this season.

The shakeup in the rotation all but guarantees that Kershaw, May and Julio Urías will have two starts in the next six games against the Padres.

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