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

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

Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 16, 2012
NEW YORK -- The Rays acknowledge they're starting to run out of time after dropping an important ballgame, 5-3, to the Yankees on Saturday. But as they've said before, they're trying to win series, and they have the opportunity to do that on Sunday against a team they're chasing.

Saturday afternoon's loss at Yankee Stadium dropped the Rays back to four games behind the Yankees in the American League East standings. Tampa Bay trails Baltimore by three games for the second AL Wild Card.

"Looking forward, the schedule is tough," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We have never had it easy in September. The road has never been one where we're just able to skate by and walk into the playoffs."

Wells Fargo

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

Rays (Moore, 10-10) at Yankees (Kuroda, 13-10), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
Angels (Haren, 10-11) at Royals (W. Smith, 5-7), 2:10 p.m. Preview >
Orioles (Wolf, 5-10) at A's (Straily, 2-0), 4:05 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 games 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 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 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

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.‬ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.