There are a lot of unexpected things that happen during a baseball season. Many didn't expect the Brewers Thames and Shaw to come in a become middle of the line up hitters and yet they are. Others expected Villar to continue what he did last year at the plate while seamlessly sliding over to second base. He hasn't.
So what would it take for the Brewers to stay in first place in the Central and/or win the wildcard?
1. Other teams losing. (Specifically the Cardinals and Cubs) The Brewers are in first place partially because the Cards or Cubs have been really cold. Really cold. If either team gets hot (.700 winning percentage for a couple of months hot.) it is going to make it tough to win the division, especially since some of those wins will come against the Brewers. Both teams, but especially the Cubs have the ability to start winning and not look back. The other option is for other wildcard teams to start losing but this may take major choke jobs for two or more teams.
2. Guerra and Anderson to stretch their good fortune into career years. The rest of the staff are who they are and these two will have to provide quality starts 75% of the time. This will save the bullpen and give the Brewers a really good chance to win 30% of their games because of quality pitching through 6 innings. With the offense the Brewers have, this might be enough. Maybe Davies or Nelson could step up if Anderson faulters. (Also, if they keep going this well, I would find someway of splitting Anderson and Guerra in the rotation.)
3. One impact relief arm. This might be outside the organization or bringing someone up. Knebel is a closer and Barnes is a decent set up guy but they don't have anyone to go to in the seventh or to take the hump if the other two are needing the day off. Although the pen isn't bad, as currently constructed, they may let to many wins slip away. We all hoped this impact arm would be bullpen Wily but it isn't so far. His impact has been on the snack bar. It could be Josh Hader even though he will be a starter next year. (The Cardinals have proven how this can work.)
And of course the lack of injuries,.. Ryan Braun coming back well, Thames not derailed by leg issues. No pitcher going down with ACL replacement....
If this all works and nothing else breaks down, the Brewers could get to 89 or 90 wins and maybe, just maybe, that would be enough.