A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 19, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 19, 2012

DETROIT -- Oakland's worst loss of the season, a 12-2 defeat to the host Tigers on Tuesday, temporarily moved the club 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the American League West. Later that night, an 11-3 Texas loss to the Angels kept Oakland three back.

The AL Wild Card-leading A's, who have dropped two straight, are still set to play the Rangers seven more times by season's end, including four on the road in Texas next week. First they must bounce back against fellow playoff contender Detroit, against whom they engage in two more games, before playing three in New York this weekend as part of a grueling 10-game road trip.

"We haven't had too many like that," manager Bob Melvin said of Tuesday's drubbing. "It just got out of hand. I can't think of too many games that have gotten out of hand, so you just have to move on. It's one game."

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

A's (Anderson, 4-1) at Tigers (Verlander, 14-8), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Blue Jays (Alvarez, 9-12) at Yankees (Pettitte, 3-3), 1:05 p.m. (Game 1) Preview >

Blue Jays (Romero, 8-14) at Yankees (Phelps, 4-4), 7:05 p.m. (Game 2) Preview >

Red Sox (Matsuzaka, 1-5) at Rays (Archer, 0-3), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

White Sox (Sale, 17-6) at Royals (Chen, 10-12), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

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

Rangers (Holland, 10-6) at Angels (Wilson, 12-9), 10:05 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

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.