Padres' Yu Darvish lays down gauntlet when it comes to facing Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers

The Padres' ace did not mince words when asked about his thoughts on facing Ohtani in 2024.

2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training
2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages
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In the game of baseball, there are few things more fun than a good ol' fashioned division rivalry. For the San Diego Padres the last few years, that has meant a back-and-forth battle with the Dodgers in the NL West which, unfortunately, the Dodgers have won more often than not with the delightfully notable exception of the 2022 NLDS (which the Padres won handily).

Unfortunately, the tenor of the Padres-Dodgers rivalry has taken a turn for the worse for San Diego this offseason. The Dodgers went on an offseason spending spree and signed Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto and traded for Tyler Glasnow, while the Padres had to watch Juan Soto, Blake Snell and Josh Hader leave town in a flurry of cost-cutting maneuvers.

That doesn't mean the Padres are just going to roll over this coming season and let the Dodgers take the division without a fight. In fact, Padres ace Yu Darvish recently went on the record to say that he wants to face Shohei Ohtani this year.

Padres' Yu Darvish is not afraid to take on the Dodgers in 2024

While it would have been more fun if Darvish was actively trashtalking Ohtani, he was unequivocal when saying that he looks forward to pitching against him. Ohtani is obviously a once-in-a-generation talent who is formidable for any pitcher to face, but Darvish is not fazed in the slightest.

This is the kind of the edge that the Padres are going to need if they want to stand any chance of competing with LA this season. On paper, the Dodgers are the better team without question, but San Diego still has plenty of talent on the roster as well as some talented young players on the way from the minor leagues. You aren't hearing the Padres feel sorry for themselves in spring training. They know what they are capable of, and that includes toppling the Dodgers.

With guys like Darvish setting the tone and embracing the challenge ahead of them, the Padres could end up pulling it off and surprising pretty much everyone especially if a few lucky breaks go their way.

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