(GAME DATE — May 3, 2020) — As the first month of the 2020 season comes to a close, one team has firmly established itself as a probable contender for the duration of the year, the Boston Brawlers.
As of the end of April, the Brawlers stood alone in the Bull League as the top team with a 20-6 (.769) record, the first team to reach 20 wins, and 5½ games above its nearest division rival, the New York Dragons.
As the season progresses, many observers are now talking playoff run for the championship-challenged Brawlers, who have never made a Bull Cup Championship Series appearance during the modern era, despite 6 playoff appearances since 1995.
The Brawlers won the very first Bull Cup Championship Series, in 1991, when the nascent league comprised just 12 teams, and seasons were usually a short 30 or so games. But since 1995, they have struggled to find any success, accumulating a record of 1001-1160 (.463) since then, and experiencing a brief period of fleeting success recently from 2016 to 2018, when they had 3 consecutive playoff runs as a wild card entrant.
The Brawlers have never in 26 seasons finished in first place in their division. But now, with a firm grasp of some of the best pitching in the Lake League, and very solid offensive production, they look poised to make a deep run into the 2020 postseason, barring any serious injuries.
Of course, May is too early to tell for sure who will be crowned Bull Cup champions, but even the pre-season predictions had forecast a strong finish for Boston, with an estimated 93-69 (.574) record at the close of the year, 13 games ahead of Pittsburgh.
Brawlers pitchers have held opponents to 2 runs or less in 11 of their 28 games so far this year, while the offensive core of Angel Payan, Jesus Ruiz, and Zong-ming Gang have managed to demonstrate the team can run just fine minus their top center fielder, Orlando Rios, and with a questionable bullpen.
Should Boston win it all in October, they will have ended the longest Bull Cup drought for any team that has previously won the championship. Only Toronto, who has never won it, has a longer championship dry spell.