Nationals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012

Nationals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012

Nationals' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012
WASHINGTON -- With a 10-4 victory over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon, the magic number for the Nationals to win the National League East is down to six.

Adam LaRoche hit his 32nd home run of the season, which ties a career high. LaRoche is clearly the MVP of the team because he leads the team in almost every major category. Not only is he a productive hitter at the plate, he is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball.

"I'm not one to brag about myself, so it's hard for me to say a lot about [my season]," LaRoche said. "But it has been a blast this year with these guys and being surrounded with the bats that I am. ... It's a total team effort."

Chien-Ming Wang will take the hill opposite the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo on Sunday as the Nats look to further close in on the NL East crown.

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

Brewers (Gallardo, 16-8) at Nationals (Wang, 2-3), 1:35 p.m. Preview >

Braves (Hudson, 15-6) at Phillies (Lee, 6-7), 1:35 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

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.