Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 20, 2012

Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 20, 2012

Orioles' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 20, 2012
The Orioles played another extra-inning game on Wednesday night, and they won another extra-inning game. They have now won their last 15 games contested in bonus frames as they continue to challenge the Yankees in the American League East. Because the Yankees swept the Blue Jays in a doubleheader, however, New York has a half-game division lead on Baltimore.

Baltimore, however, moved into the first AL Wild Card spot with Oakland losing to Detroit. The Orioles are now 85-64, the first time they've been 21 games over the .500 mark all year, and have a four-game lead over the Angels in the AL Wild Card race.

After playing 18 innings on Tuesday night and 11 more Wednesday, Baltimore will get a well-timed travel day Thursday and head to Boston to take on the Red Sox in the opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park on Friday night. With Wednesday's tormentor, Felix Hernandez, out of the way and another win in the books, the Orioles head east with confidence.

"It's crazy," said Joe Saunders, Wednesday's starting pitcher. "I thought we were going to play at least another 15 or 16 in there. We were doing dancing in there, we were rallying and stuff like that. It gets to the point where you get comfortable in those situations, and I think this team is."

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

A's (Milone, 13-10) at Tigers (Sanchez, 8-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Blue Jays (Laffey, 3-5) at Yankees (Hughes, 15-12), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Red Sox (Buchholz, 11-6) at Rays (Price, 18-5), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Rangers (Darvish, 15-9) at Angels (Greinke, 14-5), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

This is how the teams would match up: 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.

Wells Fargo

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

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB and read his MLBlog, Youneverknow. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.