Tigers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Tigers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Tigers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012
CHICAGO -- For the second time in 12 days, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale will match up with the Tigers within reach of an American League Central tie. Detroit will be trying again to make up a three-game deficit in three days.

"Pretty simple, right? It'll be zero [games] or two tomorrow," manager Jim Leyland said. "We'll find out. Two good pitchers going. Really good pitchers."

If it sounds like a pattern for the Tigers, it has been. If it sounds maddening for them, well, they're trying to look at it differently.

"Hey, we're still playing for something," Leyland said. "It's fun. The guys are enjoying it."

Catcher Alex Avila agrees.

"This is what we live for," Avila said. "I mean, who would come to the park if we were up by 20 games? Every game in the playoffs is not going to be 15-0. You're not going to blow teams out. You're going to have gray hairs by the end of the season."

Thursday's key game to watch

Tigers (Verlander, 13-8, 2.91 ERA) at White Sox (Sale, 16-6), 8:10 p.m. CT Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.