A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 1, 2012
OAKLAND -- Oakland came into Sunday with a chance to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2006, but an Angels win in their first game of a doubleheader with the Rangers stalled the seemingly inevitable celebration. Still, the A's enter Monday's three-game series opener with the Rangers still equipped with a chance to win the American League West division crown following Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Mariners, and their magic number to reach the postseason is down to 1 after the Angels lost the nightcap.

"Right now, realistically, we have a chance to win the division," closer Grant Balfour said. "We got a shot to win it, and we've got our eyes set on it. All year that's what we've been trying to do, and it was just a matter of whether it would be feasible at this time. Now that it is, we want to win it. There's no doubt about it."

A sweep of the Rangers would then ensure an AL West title for the A's, while two wins would mean the crown goes to Texas. Since Oakland enters the series two games behind Texas, there can be no Game 163 to determine the AL West champ.

Over in the Wild Card race, the A's remain in grasp of the second spot, their lead over both the Angels and Rays three games.

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

Red Sox (Buchholz, 11-7) at Yankees (Sabathia, 14-6), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

White Sox (Santiago, 3-1) at Indians (Kluber, 2-4), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Chen, 12-10) at Rays (Cobb, 10-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Tigers (Porcello, 9-12) at Royals (Chen, 11-13), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

Rangers (Perez, 1-3) at A's (Parker, 12-8), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

Angels (Wilson, 12-10) at Mariners (Hernandez, 13-8), 10:10 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

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

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.