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A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012

A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012

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A's Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012
OAKLAND -- The A's maintained their two-game cushion in the Wild Card race with their 8-2 win against the Mariners on Friday night, and moved to three games behind the Rangers in the American League West.

With the Angels kicking off a three-game set with the Rangers with a 7-4 win, the A's face a win-win scenario with their two top division foes squaring off. Angels losses contribute to the A's magic number for clinching a Wild Card berth, which shrank to four following Friday's win. Rangers losses, though, keep Oakland's hopes for a division title alive.

Asked what he looks forward to the most in the last week of the season, manager Bob Melvin's answer was simple -- "Playing hard tomorrow."

Saturday's key games to watch (all times PT)

Angels (Santana, 9-12) at Rangers (Holland, 11-6), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Mariners (Vargas, 14-11) at A's (Straily, 2-1), 1:05 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

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

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