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The Hiroshima Carp and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters begin their battle for the Japan Series crown on Saturday. But the attention on that matchup might pale in comparison to the focus that will be on Fighters star Shohei Otani not only in this series, but as he prepares to step onto the international stage.

Otani was already going to be in the spotlight in his Japan Series debut, but the 22-year old stoked the flames with his scintillating relief appearance in the last game of the Pacific League Climax Series, during which he, after going 1-for-4 as the DH, hit a record-setting 165 kph with his fastball three times and also threw a 151 kph forkball on the way to his first pro save on Sunday.

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