For now, the only sign of a Bregman in Isotopes Park this week will be the thousands of cup holders located around the yard and in restrooms advertising The Bregman Law Firm.
Albuquerque’s own Alex Bregman, the Houston Astros star third baseman, has hinted for the past week that he’d be rehabbing his injured leg in his hometown this week with his organization’s Triple-A affiliate the Sugar Land Skeeters.
No such news came on Wednesday and so the “Lawyers for the people” cup holders plugging the business of parents Jackie and Sam Bregman will do for now as the Skeeters start their six-game stint against the suddenly red hot Isotopes on Thursday.
Bregman, the Albuquerque Academy graduate who at age 27 is already one of the state’s most successful professional athletes of all time, told the Houston Chronicle last week he will “hopefully sell out Albuquerque” on his impending rehab assignment to test the left quadriceps he injured running the bases June 16.
As for the teams playing — with or without Bregman in one of the lineups — there is intrigue as well.
The Skeeters (34-25) have the best record in the Triple-A West’s eastern division and already beaten the Isotopes 10 times in 12 games. But the Isotopes are actually as hot as any team in the minors, having won five in a row and are 9-2 in July. Albuquerque entered July with a 15-33 record and .313 win percentage. Now it is .404 (24-35 overall) thanks to several hot-hitters and some long-overdue strong pitching performances.
FINAL STRETCH TWEAK: Triple-A baseball is extending its season and getting creative in doing so. After losing all of 2020 due to COVID, and having the 2021 season cut back to 120 games, Minor League Baseball on Wednesday made official it will tack on 10 games for all teams to the current 120-game season, but also make the new games mean something — even for a last-place team as the Isotopes currently are.
First, the Triple-A East and Triple-A West regular-season champion will be the team with the best win percentage at the end of the 120-game schedule on Sept. 21. But there will now be a “Triple-A Final Stretch” winner named with a so far undisclosed “prize” from Major League Baseball at stake. The “Final Stretch” is a 10-game sprint — for the Isotopes it is five home games against Reno on Sept. 23-27 and five games at Sacramento (Sept. 29- Oct. 3).
The Triple-A team with the best win percentage in those 10 games is the Final Stretch winner, with tiebreaker then going to the regular-season head-to-head winner if two teams are involved or best win percentage against all tied teams if three or more teams tie. Other tiebreakers are detailed if necessary.
The Isotopes for the five added home games have added two Little League nights, a Fan Appreciation Weekend promotion, a hoodie giveaway, a fireworks show and a Mariachis Night.
WANT TICKETS? The Isotopes are opening up ticket sales for all remaining games on Friday for the first time. With state-mandated stadium capacity and health code restrictions in place earlier in the season, the organization was making available tickets only for games in the near future in case anything changed. Tickets for any remaining home game can be purchased in person at the Isotopes Park ticket office or at ABQIsotopes.com.
‘TOPES THURSDAY: Vs. Sugar Land
6:35 p.m., Isotopes Park, 610 AM/95.9 FM, abqisotopes.com
PROBABLES: Skeeters TBA vs. Isotopes RHP Ryan Castellani (1-6, 8.01)
WEDNESDAY: The Isotopes and the entire Triple-A West league had the day off.
TUESDAY: The Isotopes beat host Round Rock 3-2 in the finale of their six-game series. It was Albuquerque’s fifth straight win. Isotopes RF Connor Joe got the scoring started in the first with his eighth home run. SS Scott Burcham added his first career Triple-A home run in the fifth. Ian Clarkin (1-5, 8.24) tossed three scoreless innings in relief for his first win with the Isotopes.
(Click here for updated Triple-A West standings.)