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Bochy impressed by strength of NL West

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SAN DIEGO -- Manager Bruce Bochy declared before the season began that the Giants' National League West rivals had improved themselves. Playing each team in the division thus far has strengthened Bochy's conviction.

The NL West, Bochy said Sunday, poses more threats than just the defending champion Dodgers.

Bochy praised San Diego's pitching, which entered Sunday ranked second in the NL with a 2.68 ERA. Also, Bochy said, "They're a scrappy bunch that can create some runs. They have speed."

Colorado, said Bochy, "can really pressure you defensively. They have a good lineup and they got [right-hander Tyler] Chatwood back, so I think they're going to have a pretty good staff."

Bochy acknowledged that last-place Arizona has languished. He observed that losing valuable starter Patrick Corbin was a big blow to the D-backs. But, he added, "They'll come back."

The Giants are approaching the end of a stretch in which they play their first 22 games against NL West clubs. Their first opponent outside the West will be Cleveland, which visits AT&T Park for an Interleague series next weekend. Then the Giants will play seven of their next 13 games against NL West foes.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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