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Hawks still can't put two good games together

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Hawks still can't put two good games together

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In a series loss to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters this week, it is becoming more and more apparent that the Hawks are in desperate need of starting pitching. It has officially become a case of Sugiuchi, Wada, pray for rain.

This was apparent in how the Hawks played over the course of this series. In the first game, the visitors rolled over the Fighters behind a complete game shutout from Toshiya Sugiuchi. He was dominant in that span, with nine strikeouts and a walk while scattering seven hits.

It also helped that the offense backed him up with a 12-run offensive assault, which also came from Matsunaka, who hit his 6th home run of the season in this game. Tamura also added to his RBI total with three more, and Jose Ortiz also drove in two himself en route to a 12-0 win.

With a chance to string two good victories together, the Hawks again put themselves in a position to win, but the bullpen blew it this time. Shinsuke Ogura finally put together a good start after a string of bad ones, giving up only one run over six innings while striking out 10. He pitched well enough to win, but Tadashi Settsu ended up giving up four runs on five hits, in a clear sign that he is being over-pitched.

The four runs gave the Fighters the win as Tomoya Yagi was again brilliant against the Hawks, giving up only two runs in seven innings.

In the third and final game of this series, the Hawks once again ran into one of their chief nemeses in Masaru Takeda. Again, he baffled the Hawks for eight shutout innings, scattering eight hits and striking out four. On the other side, JD Durbin once again couldn't replicate the results from his first Japanese start, giving up six runs in four-plus innings.

So what is the solution? It doesn't seem that there are any options at all at ni-gun, and it's a case of the waiting game for when DJ Houlton comes back from the disabled list and hopefully Kenji Ohtonari returns as well. This team is in trouble right now and needs some kind of adrenaline infusion to keep from having a total collapse like in 2008.

For now though, Hawks fans have to keep reminding themselves that they have the offense to succeed and it is only the beginning of July. There are still about two months left in the season, and nine games left until the All-Star Break.

The Hawks meet the Chiba Lotte Marines at Yahoo! Dome for a short two-game series this weekend.
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