Should the Orioles and the Yankees end up tied for the division after Wednesday's games, the tiebreaker would be held in Baltimore, since the O's have a better record against AL East opponents. Both the A's and the Rangers -- potential Wild Card opponents -- hold the better season-series mark against the Orioles, who would travel to either respective road city if they end up tied with either of those clubs for the two Wild Card spots.
"I think this time of the year, there's not a bounce back," manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a show up the next day. The ball quits bouncing here pretty soon and you've got a chair at the dance, but you'd like to improve your chances if you can keep winning."
Wednesday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Orioles (Tillman, 9-2) at Rays (Hellickson, 9-11), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Red Sox (Matsuzaka, 1-6) at Yankees (Kuroda, 15-11), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Rangers (Dempster, 12-8) at A's (Griffin, 7-1), 3:35 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
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.
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 »