A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012
OAKLAND -- The A's clinched one of the two American League Wild Card spots on Monday with a 4-3 win over the Rangers, whom they now trail by only one game in the AL West with two to play, meaning two more Oakland wins leave the A's holding the division crown.

Oakland's victory, securing the club's first playoff berth since 2006, bumped both the Angels and Rays out of the race. The A's are tied with Baltimore for the first Wild Card slot, marking the first time they have held a share of it since Sept. 20.

In the event a tiebreaker is needed for a playoff game or home-field advantage in the Wild Card, the A's won the season series from Baltimore and split the season series with New York, which holds a one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East. The second tiebreaker for a two-team tie with the Yankees would be intradivision games. The A's are 31-24 (.564) against the West and New York is 39-31 (.557) against the East.

Wells Fargo

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

Rangers (Harrison, 18-10) at A's (Blackley, 5-4), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

Red Sox (Lester, 9-14) at Yankees (Phelps, 4-4), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Gonzalez, 8-4) at Rays (Shields, 15-9), 7:10 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

Complete schedule »

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.