Nick Martinez and Kodai Senga are doing everything they can to keep the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the playoff picture.

They have been two of the best pitchers in NPB during the second half of the season — Martinez has been one of the best, period — and will be a formidable duo if the three-time defending Japan Series champs manage to slip into the postseason.

That, of course, is easier said than done. The Pacific League pennant is probably out of reach — practically if not mathematically — with the first-place Chiba Lotte Marines seven games ahead of fourth-place SoftBank, which has 22 games left.