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

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

Tigers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 23, 2012
DETROIT -- Not since the final week of the 2009 season has a Tigers doubleheader meant as much as Sunday's twin bill will. Depending on what the White Sox do against the Angels, it could mean a chance to take over the American League Central once again with 10 games to go.

After gaining a half-game in the division race on Friday night without throwing a pitch, Detroit did its part to keep the pressure on first-place Chicago with an 8-0 blanking of the Twins on Saturday afternoon, whittling the gap to a half-game as the White Sox dropped a 4-2 decision to the Angels on Saturday night.

"Split doubleheaders aren't fun. They're tough to win," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But we're still playing for a lot, obviously. ... We just have to keep playing. The key is, it doesn't matter who's doing what, the key is you have to win games. We're at the stretch where we've got to win games, no matter what's going on with them."

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

Game 1: Twins (Diamond, 11-8) at Tigers (Scherzer, 16-6), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Game 2: Twins (Walters, 2-4) at Tigers (Smyly, 4-3), 7:05 p.m.Preview >

White Sox (Floyd, 10-10) at Angels (Weaver, 18-4), 3:35 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

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.