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Another starter's failings drop Hawks back further

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Another starter's failings drop Hawks back further

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Maybe now is the time to start panicking if you're a Hawks fan. The starting pitching has been horrendous each of the last two days, and the rotation is starting to turn into Sugiuchi, Wada, pray for rain.

If only those two could pitch every day. Hiroki Yamada failed to keep the Marines at bay just like Shinsuke Ogura did yesterday, as another big inning from Lotte sank the Hawks, 7-2.

The inning in question was the fourth, after the Marines scored two in the first and one in the third for a 3-0 lead at the time. Takehara drew a walk to lead off the inning, then took two bases on a steal and an errant throw from Tanoue. After Minami grounded out, Matoba drew another walk, one of five from Yamada today.

Nishioka started the rally proper with an RBI single, and Imae followed it up with one of his own. Former Hawk Iguchi struck out, but Nishioka and Imae pulled a double-steal, giving the Marines two outs, but runners on second and third. It turned into a case of pick your poison with Kim at bat and Ohmatsu on deck. It was either pitch to Kim and try to get him out, or intentionally walk him to get to Ohmatsu.

Akiyama elected to replace Yamada with former Hanshin Tiger Takehito Kanazawa, who has been somewhat effective for the Hawks in his short tenure. However, the Korean slugger Kim ended up getting both runners home with an RBI single of his own. That would close the book on Yamada (L, 1-2, 5.48), as the former ikusei player was rocked for seven runs (five earned) on five hits, with five walks and four strikeouts.

His offense didn't get much of a chance to help him out either, as Shunsuke Watanabe was spectacular today. Mr. Submarine would go the distance, giving up two runs on eight hits, with one walk and five strikeouts.

SoftBank's only offense came off the bat of Hitoshi Tamura, who singled home a run in the sixth, and belted a solo home run in the 9th (14).

The only bright side of the game was that the Hawks' bullpen was effective in stopping the bleeding, but one has to wonder if the men who pitched today can be just as effective in game-breaking situations. Kanazawa, Fujioka, Kattoh, and Morifuku all pitched well, giving up no runs and giving up one walk between them.

With the Orix Buffaloes now breathing down the Hawks' necks, another important series is coming up this weekend at Yahoo Dome. Shogo Yamamoto (6-4, 5.13) goes against JD Durbin (1-0, 1.50).
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