Reds' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

Reds' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

Reds' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have all but clinched the National League Central crown.

After some extra-inning magic in Chicago that led to a St. Louis loss, the Reds' magic number to clinch the division was lowered to just one.

But Cincinnati couldn't capitalize on its opportunity to clinch the Central on Friday, falling to Los Angeles, 3-1, in 10 innings.

At 91-60, the Reds can quickly redeem themselves Saturday with either a win against the Dodgers or a Cardinals loss to the Cubs.

"I feel like we're in a good spot," Reds reliever Sean Marshall said after Friday's loss. "We're 11 games up ... and that's a good spot to be for us. It would have been nice if we had pulled off the win, but we've got another game tomorrow and another chance to clinch the division tomorrow. We'll just come back and hopefully clinch it tomorrow."

The Reds, who play the Dodgers at 4:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, could have their fate decided before they even take the field, as the Cardinals-Cubs game is slated for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.

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

Cardinals (Wainwright, 13-13) at Cubs (Wood, 6-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Dodgers (Fife, 0-1) at Reds (Latos, 12-4), 4:05 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.

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

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