Brewers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

Brewers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

Brewers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012
WASHINGTON -- After an especially hard-fought 6-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday, the Brewers remain 2 1/2 games back of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race.

The Cardinals won their game against the Cubs, 6-3. As the Brewers have won eight of their last 10 to creep further back into contention, the Cardinals have gone 7-3 in that span. Making it even more difficult on the Brewers is that while they travel to Cincinnati for a three-game set with the NL Central winners, the Cardinals have three games against the Astros.

"We're in that situation where every game is intense, every play is intense," Brewers first baseman Corey Hart said. "You never know how many chances we're going to get, so every chance is big for us. We've been playing like that for the past month, and that's why we are the way we are."

Marco Estrada will be on the hill Monday with the Brewers looking to take three of four from the NL East-leading Nationals.

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

Brewers (Estrada, 4-6) at Nationals (Zimmermann, 11-8), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Lynn, 16-7) at Astros (Abad, 0-5), 8:05 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

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