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On the eve of the interleague portion of the schedule, nearly one month ago, the Hiroshima Carp were leading the Central League with a 27-15 record and tied with the Pacific League-leading Orix Buffaloes for the best record in NPB. After ending a postseason drought that had stretched over two decades last season, Carp fans were enraptured with the team’s strong start to the year, and dared to dream of the type of success the franchise enjoyed during its “Aka-heru” era.

Then Japanese baseball began its interleague season-within-a-season, and it’s been all downhill for the Carp since then.

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