DETROIT -- The good news for the Tigers is that when the Athletics left town, they took what should be the contender part of the Tigers' season-ending schedule with them. All that's left for Detroit are 13 games against Minnesota and Kansas City -- first at Comerica Park, then on the road.
The flip side is they still have a multigame deficit to make up against the White Sox, with dwindling time to do it. Detroit will head into this weekend's series against the Twins down two games to the division-leading White Sox.
"Obviously, we need help," catcher Gerald Laird said. "I'll be watching the game. ... This is an important time, because when you lose games, you're just getting narrower and narrower in your chances of getting there."
There's a goal in those chances. When the Tigers hit the road for Minnesota a week from now, they want to be within a game.
"If we can continue to play well at home and cut this thing to one game, I like our chances," Laird said.
Friday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Twins (Deduno, 6-4) at Tigers (Porcello, 9-12), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
White Sox (Peavy, 11-11) at Angels (Santana, 8-12), 10:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
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.
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
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.