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Clayton Kershaw on first Sports Illustrated cover this week

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The Dodgers' ace is one of six different pitchers on regional covers for the annual baseball preview issue.

Sports Illustrated

Clayton Kershaw made his very first Sports Illustrated cover this week, as he adorns the cover of the annual baseball preview issue. Actually, Kershaw is one of six pitchers to grace the regional covers this week, joining Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, and James Shields.

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The Dodgers are predicted by SI to finish second to the Giants in the National League West, but as one of the two wild card teams, along with the Braves. Of the Giants, a rival scout told SI, "Their obvious strength is the rotation with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. But their depth beyond that is a concern if someone goes down."

The Dodgers are picked to beat the Braves in the wild card game, but then lose to the Nationals in the division series. Sports Illustrated picks the Nationals to beat the Rays in the World Series.

Matt Kemp was named Mr. Irreplaceable in the National League by Albert Chen, and Rotowire estimated that Kershaw would finish with 17 wins, tied with Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Adam Wainwright for the National League lead.