The Milwaukee Brewers are almost one third of the way through the schedule and are in first place. Holy Crap! You may be one of those that says, "The rest of the Central is under performing" and you would probably be right. You may also say, "The Brewers have had an easier schedule than some of their Central division counterparts so far." And you would probably be right. You could even say,"They have faced teams when they weren't playing their best baseball. They have been lucky." And you may be right about that as well.
Finally you could say, "Look at the great use of quotes by Ditz" and you would have nailed it!
But given the above, when will you say: "The Brewers are contenders!" When will the above items either change or not matter. There is always a degree of luck in when you face another team; but the Brewers did just split a series with a very hot bunch of snakes. And hot snakes are tough to handle.
My magic date is June 16, 2017. Between now and June 16 the Brewers have 3 with the Mets (6-4 in last 10 games and getting healthier) 3 with Dodgers (32-30) 4 with Giants (expected to be better than their record) 3 at Arizona (31 -21) 4 at St. Louis (in St. Louis!) 3 with Baltimore (26-23) 1 with make up game with the Cubs (unless it is cloudy again) and 3 with Yankees (29 -19).
Other than the Giants these are all teams over .500 and the Giants are under performing to date. For most, if not all of these games, the Brewers will be without Braun.
If the Brewers are in first place following this stretch; I will empty my loose change jar to see if I have any hope of buying playoff tickets.
If they can even play .500 baseball over the next 17 games I will believe they will be contenders.
And I am even optimistic at this point. Villar will start hitting and win five games by himself!
So when are you a believer?