Well, not quite yet, but the ‘Topes are awfully close †to clinching the American Southern division, a feat that would send them to their first post-season since 2003 when the franchise began. Holding a seven-game lead over the Oklahoma City RedHawks, Albuquerque is sitting comfortably with a magic number of 12 with 17 games to play.
Interestingly enough, the Isotopes have a huge hand in determining the foe they would meet in the American Conference Finals. Of the 17 games remaining, 13 of them are against teams vying to clinch the American Northern division. Nashville, Memphis and Iowa are currently separated by just two games. The Sounds open a four-game set tonight against the ‘Topes while Memphis will roll in for five on Wednesday before Iowa hosts Albuquerque for the last series of the regular season.
Should the Sounds earn the berth, it will be a rematch of the 2003 Finals, which the ‘Topes dropped, winning just one out of the best-of-five series.
Playing 13 of those final 17 games at home is also comforting as the ‘Topes have gone 36-23 †at Isotopes Park this season, having not lost a home series since June 6-9.
Come Sept. 1, Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players, so it will be interesting to see which ‘Topes go up to the Dodgers with the playoffs looming for both teams. It is quite likely that several ‘Topes could play in two postseasons.