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Hawks struggling post-interleague

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Hawks struggling post-interleague

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After a third-place finish in inter league, the SoftBank Hawks have been having trouble adjusting back to playing Pacific League teams.

The Hawks have lost six straight games, losing their final inter league game to the BayStars, then started the rest of the regular campaign by getting swept by the Saitama Seibu Lions, and now they have lost the first two games against the lowly Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

As with all struggling teams, the problem starts with the pitching. Neither Toshiya Sugiuchi nor Tsuyoshi Wada have been anywhere near as effective as they have been earlier this season. Shinsuke Ogura has been faltering as of late, and the injury to DJ Houtlon has proven to be a major blow, as the team can't seem to find that sixth starter, even bringing up former ikusei player Hiroki Yamada.

Also, the hitting hasn't been there either, despite the recent acquisition and call-up Roberto Petagine. Nobuhiko Matsunaka has not been healthy all season despite having some flashes in interleague, and Yuya Hasegawa has been an enigma after his breakout 2009 campaign.

However, there is no reason to think that SoftBank will continue to falter like this. Ebbs and flows of the season happen like this all the time, and it's up to Akiyama-kantoku to motivate his troops and get them refocused and back on the winning track. This team is too good to continue on this track.

And besides, I'll take a June swoon over another late-season collapse and subsequent first-round playoff exit.
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