Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Groundhog Day continued for the Dodgers, whose loaded lineup scratched out a lone run in a 2-1 loss Thursday to the Cardinals in the opener of a crucial series between National League Wild Card contenders.

The loss dropped the Dodgers two games behind St. Louis for the second Wild Card berth, as they wasted a solid start from Josh Beckett. The Dodgers have lost seven of their last eight games, scoring a total of 14 runs in the eight games.

"It doesn't matter who we are facing from now until the end of the season," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "It could be the Cardinals, it could be the Giants, it could be San Diego, it could be whoever. We've just got to take it one game at a time and right now it's the Cardinals. It just so happens they are right ahead of us and that's the team we have to beat right now."

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

Cardinals (Kelly, 5-6) at Dodgers (Capuano, 11-10), 10:10 p.m. Preview >

Pirates (McDonald, 12-7) at Cubs (Rusin, 0-2), 2:20 p.m. Preview >

Reds (Arroyo, 12-7) at Marlins (Turner, 1-3), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Detwiler, 9-6) at Braves (Medlen, 8-1), 7:35 p.m. Preview >

Phillies (Hamels, 14-6) at Astros (Gonzalez, 2-0), 8:05 p.m. Preview >

Mets (Niese, 10-9) at Brewers (Friers, 9-7), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

Giants (Cain, 13-5) at D-backs (Skaggs, 1-1), 9:40 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

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.