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

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

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012
PHOENIX -- Despite losing six of their last 10 games, the Dodgers have gained ground in the chase for the second National League Wild Card spot over the last two weeks.

The Cardinals are 3-7 in their last 10 contests, leaving Los Angeles just a game back as the two teams are set to begin a crucial four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

"I think we have to feel fortunate -- I'd rather feel fortunate that we're winning and we're keeping ourselves in the hunt but we have to turn the page," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "At the end of the day and the beginning of the day tomorrow, we'll be a game back. We've let a lot of people back in the race but it's still in our hands, no matter how bad it has looked. It's there for us."

The Dodgers fell to the D-backs on Wednesday for the second straight day by one run, 3-2, while the Cardinals also lost, 3-2, as the Padres finished a sweep.

Even though Los Angeles is still within a victory of tying for a Wild Card spot, the team fell to seven games back in the NL West race after the Giants beat the Rockies on Wednesday, 8-3.

Once Los Angeles concludes its weekend set against St. Louis, it will go on the road to face two division-leading teams in Washington and Cincinnati before finishing the regular season with nine games against NL West opponents.

Today's key games to watch (all times PT)

Cardinals (Lynn, 14-7) at Dodgers (Beckett, 6-13) 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Phillies (Cloyd, 0-1) at Astros (Harrell, 10-9), 5:05 p.m. 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.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. 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

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.