Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 28, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 28, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 28, 2012
SAN DIEGO -- With St. Louis idle Thursday, the Dodgers could focus on winning and not watching the out-of-town scoreboard.

Their 8-4 win over the Padres left them three games behind St. Louis for the final National League Wild Card spot with six home games remaining in the regular season -- three against Colorado, three against San Francisco -- with Clayton Kershaw scheduled to pitch two of them.

The Dodgers' offense finally awakened against the Padres, scoring eight runs in back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month.

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

Rockies (Francis, 5-6) at Dodgers (Kershaw, 12-9), 10:10 p.m. Preview >

Phillies (Lee, 6-8) at Marlins (Buehrle, 13-13), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Mets (Niese, 12-9) at Braves (Hudson, 16-6), 7:35 p.m. Preview >

Astros (Gonzalez, 2-1) at Brewers (Gallardo, 16-8), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Jackson, 9-10) at Cardinals (Wainwright, 13-12), 8:15 p.m. Preview >

Cubs (Wood, 6-12) at D-backs (Kennedy, 14-11), 9:40 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

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.