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Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012
The Rays (77-65) lost to the Orioles, 3-2, on Wednesday night, taking their second consecutive loss and pushing them three games out of first place in the American League East behind the O's and Yankees, who are tied for first. New York also won on Wednesday night.

The Rays will wrap up their three-game series with the Orioles in a Thursday matinee before moving to New York for a three-game weekend series against the Yankees. With 20 games remaining in the season, every game is now critical for the Rays.

"We have to win tomorrow," B.J. Upton said. "We felt like we had to win today, but reality is we have to win tomorrow. We have no choice. If we want to end up where we want to be, we have to win tomorrow and we have to win the series in New York."

The Rays are also three games out from the second AL Wild Card spot.

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

Rays (Hellickson, 8-10) at Orioles (Chen, 12-9), 12:35 p.m. Preview >

Yankees (Hughes, 14-12) at Red Sox (Doubront, 10-8), 7:10 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

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["path_to_the_postseason" ] }