Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers extended their winning streak to five games on Sunday, but a Cardinals victory earlier in the day kept Los Angeles two games back of the final Wild Card spot in the National League.

After a 7-1 victory against the Rockies, Los Angeles will play host to the Giants for the final three games of the season. While the Dodgers will have their hands full with San Francisco, the Cardinals will take on their own rival and another division leader in the Reds, who can still finish with the best record in the NL.

A tiebreaker would take place at Dodger Stadium on Thursday if the Dodgers sweep the Giants and the Cardinals lose two of three against the Reds.

"If we do what we want to do, they have to win two games," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We've got [Matt Cain] tomorrow and we've got to be ready to go to put a win on the board somehow."

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

Giants (Cain, 16-5) at Dodgers (Harang, 10-10), 10:10 p.m. Preview >

Reds (Arroyo, 12-9) at Cardinals (Garcia, 6-7), 8:15 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

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