Rangers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012

Rangers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012

Rangers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers, after a 9-3 loss to the Athletics on Wednesday, have lost two straight games at the Ballpark in Arlington for the first time since July 30-31 against the Angels.

The Rangers and A's meet again on Thursday in the finale of the four-game series. The Rangers need a win to avoid losing a series at home for only the second time in their last 16. The Rangers are 13-1-1 in their last 15 home series.

The Rangers are now three games up on the Athletics with seven left to play in the regular season. The Rangers have three games with the Angels this weekend and three more against the Athletics next week in Oakland.

"We know the only way we're going to get there is locking in on the game today," infielder Michael Young said. "We've been here before and we've done it before. We know what we need to do. We know ourselves well and we trust each other as teammates. Obviously every game is big."

The Rangers are also down to a one-game lead over the Yankees in the race for the best record in the American League.

Wells Fargo

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

A's (Blackley, 5-3) at Rangers (Harrison, 17-10), 2:05 p.m. Preview >

Mariners (Iwakuma, 7-5) at Angels (Haren, 12-11), 3:35 p.m. Preview >

Yankees (Nova, 12-7) at Blue Jays (Morrow, 8-7), 7:07 p.m. Preview >

Rays (Shields, 15-9) at White Sox (Peavy, 11-12), 8:10 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

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.