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

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

Tigers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012
DETROIT -- The Tigers found a silver lining in the rain clouds that washed out Friday night's game against the Twins at Comerica Park. Though the Tigers didn't play, they still gained on the first-place White Sox, who lost to the Angels later Friday evening.

With that, Detroit's gap in the American League Central is down to just a game and a half. The potential to even up the division race once again could carry the Tigers through a difficult stretch of three games in the next two days, starting with Saturday afternoon's tilt against the Twins.

The Tigers also gained a half-game in the AL Wild Card race, long shot though it is. Oakland's loss to the Yankees put Detroit 5 1/2 games behind the A's for the second Wild Card spot. However, wins from the Angels and Rays kept those two squads closer to the race.

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

Orioles (Wolf, 5-10) at Red Sox (Cook, 4-10), 1:10 p.m. Preview >

A's (Blackley, 5-3) at Yankees (Nova, 12-7), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Twins (Deduno, 6-4) at Tigers (Fister, 9-9), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

White Sox (Quintana, 6-4) at Angels (Haren, 11-11), 9:05 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 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.