Carp Clinches Playoff Spot in NPB

The Hiroshima Carp clinched the second wild card in the Central Division with a 2-0 win against the Chunichi Dragons.  Bryan Bullington tossed seven innings of shutout ball.  Katsuiro Nagakawa and Kam Mickolio each worked one inning to close out the game.  Brad Eldred drove in both runs with a 2-run homer in the eighth.  Brad finished 3 for 3 to raise his average to .249.

The Hiroshima Carp are four and a half games behind the second place Hanshin Tigers.  The team who finishes in second place gets the home field advantage for virtually all of the wild card contests.  The winner of that match plays the first place Yomiuri Giants for Central League supremacy.

The Pacific League is a wild open race.  The Rakuten Eagles appear to have won their first pennant race with an eight and a half game lead over the second place Lotte Marines.  They are the only team in the Pacific League to have clinched a playoff berth.  If they don’t win the division they have clinched a wild card spot. 

It is wide open with the wild card race in the Pacific League with all the teams still eligible.  The Chiba Lotte Marines and Softbank Hawks are currently two and three in the Pacific, the Marines two games ahead of the Hawks.  The Seibu Lions fall one game back of the Hawks.  Further behind taking the last two spots in the standings are the Orix Buffaloes (five games back) and Nippon Ham fighters (seven and a half back).  With only nine games left on their schedule the Fighters would almost have to win it out to stand any kind of a shot to make the playoffs.     

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