Sorry for the lack of posts lately. We were away last weekend and I've been in code monkey mode most of the week at work. Hopefully things will calm down a little soon.
We're entering into the final week or so of the NPB regular season and there's still a couple things to be decided. The playoff teams for the Central League are set but the Carp and Baystars are currently tied for second. The Carp's schedule is complete but the Baystars play Yomiuri on Wednesday. If they win, they are the second place team and host the First Stage of the Climax Series starting on October 14th. If they lose, then the Carp are the second place team and host the First Stage.
Things are much more up in the air in the Pacific League. There are three teams - the Eagles, Hawks and Marines - bunched together for two playoff spots. The Eagles and Hawks are currently tied for second with the Marines a half game behind. We're in the postponed game makeup part of the schedule so each team has a kind of random assortment of games left - the Hawks only have four (although three are against the Eagles) while the other two teams have five each. It's possible that the final PL playoff spot won't be decided until October 9th, the final day of the season, when the Eagles play the Marines in the afternoon and the Hawks play Orix in the evening.
Jim Allen's weekly e-newsletter this week mentioned something else to watch this week - Kensuke Kondoh of the Hawks has a shot at winning the Triple Crown. He's currently leading the PL in RBIs with 85 (four ahead of teammate Yuki Yanagita) and tied for the home run lead with 25 with Chusei Mannami of the Fighters, Hideto Asamura of the Eagles and Gregory Polanco of the Marines. He's about 8 points behind Yuma Tongu of the Buffaloes for the batting title though and Tongu's hurt so his average won't be changing. Jim figures that Kondoh needs to go something like 7 for 11 (or better) in his last four games to catch Tongu and will probably need to hit at least one more home run to win both categories. I thought I'd share a card of Kondoh from last year's Calbee "Clutch Hitter" set (#CL11) - this was a set sold though Calbee's Amazon Japan webstore (although I picked it up off Ebay) in conjunction with Series One: