Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 16, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 16, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 16, 2012
ATLANTA -- After winning the first two games of their three-game series against the Nationals this weekend, the Braves have cut their deficit in the National League East to 6 1/2 games with 16 to play.

Even with two victories this weekend, winning the division remains something of a long shot. But the Braves are not ready to give up on their dreams of finishing first the division.

"Our mindset is to go after the division until you can't," right fielder Jason Heyward said. "That's the way you have to look at it. You don't settle for anything until time's up. Right now we've got a chance to win the division still. We've got to keep playing good baseball, got to keep hanging in there. Everything else will take care of itself at the end."

The Braves continue to hold a commanding lead in the NL Wild Card race. Their 5-4 victory Saturday cut their magic number for clinching a spot in the postseason to nine.

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

Reds (Latos, 12-4) at Marlins (Nolasco, 12-12), 1:10 p.m. Preview>

Phillies (Halladay, 10-7) at Astros (Lyles, 4-11), 2:05 p.m. Preview >

Mets (Young, 4-7) at Brewers (Peralta, 1-0), 2:10 p.m. Preview >

Pirates (Locke, 0-1) at Cubs (Volstad, 3-10), 2:20 p.m. Preview >

Giants (Vogelsong, 12-8) at D-backs (Corbin, 5-7), 4:10 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Wainwright 13-13) at Dodgers (Fife, 0-1), 4:10 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Gonzalez, 19-7) at Braves (Minor, 8-10), 8:05 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

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