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Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012

Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012

Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012
CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay lost to Chicago, 3-1, Friday night to see its eight-game winning streak snapped.

Wells Fargo

And Friday night was not a good night to lose for a team living on the edge while hoping to earn a spot in the postseason.

The American League East-leading Yankees won Friday night to leave the Rays one game from elimination in the division race.

More bad news came in the fact that the Orioles, the frontrunner for the top AL Wild Card spot, and the Athletics, in line for the second Wild Card, and the Angels, who were tied with the Rays for third place in the Wild Card race, all won Friday night.

The Rays enter play Saturday three games back of Oakland and one game back of the Angels in the Wild Card race with five games remaining.

"The tough thing is you really can't control anything else other than what you have on your table," said Rays outfielder Matt Joyce about his team's situation. "For us, that's what we have to concentrate on."

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

Yankees (Pettitte, 5-3) at Blue Jays (Romero, 9-14), 1:07 p.m. Preview >

Mariners (Vargas, 14-11) at A's (Straily, 2-1), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Angels (Santana, 9-12) at Rangers (Holland, 11-6), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Rays (Moore, 10-11) at White Sox (Sale, 17-7), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Red Sox (Doubront, 11-9) at Orioles (Johnson, 4-0), 7:05 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

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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