Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 21, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 21, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 21, 2012
NEW YORK -- The Yankees took a one-game lead on the Orioles in the American League East on Thursday, beating the Blue Jays, 10-7, to give them five consecutive wins. Baltimore is keeping pace, though, and with 13 games remaining for each team, New York's only focus is taking care of its own responsibilities.

"We know we have to win games, that's the bottom line," said manager Joe Girardi.

The Yankees have three more games against a playoff contender as they welcome Oakland to New York this weekend, then play their final 10-game stretch against the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox.

The Orioles have an all-AL East slate remaining, hosting the Blue Jays and Red Sox before traveling to St. Petersburg, where the Rays sit 6 1/2 games back of New York as they slide out of contention in the division. Tampa Bay is 5 1/2 games out of an AL Wild Card spot.

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

A's (Parker, 11-8) at Yankees (Sabathia, 13-6), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Gonzalez, 6-4) at Red Sox (Lester, 9-12), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Blue Jays (Villanueva, 7-5) at Rays (Shields, 14-9), 7:10 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.

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

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