Angels' Path to the Postseason, Sept. 14, 2012

Angels' Path to the Postseason, Sept. 14, 2012

The Angels snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged the critical four-game series against the A's on Thursday, notching a 6-0 victory thanks in large part to seven shutout innings from ace Jered Weaver.

But with 18 games to go and a weekend series in Kansas City looming, they're still on the outside looking in. After their victory, the Angels held sole possession of third place in the American League Wild Card race, but were 3 1/2 games back of the Yankees and Orioles -- tied atop the AL East -- for the final playoff spot.

The Angels started the week only one game back, thanks to a Major League-best 15-3 record dating back to Aug. 20. But three straight losses to the Wild Card-leading A's, with a combined seven runs in all of them, set them back once again and forced them to go on yet another run to sneak into the playoffs.

"Every game's important, man," Weaver said. "We're trying to go out there and win every game and see what happens."

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

Tigers (Sanchez, 7-12) at Indians (Kluber, 1-3), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Rays (Price, 17-5) at Yankees (Sabathia, 13-5), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Mariners (Iwakuma, 6-4) at Rangers (Darvish, 14-9), 5:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Saunders, 8-11) at A's (Milone, 12-10), 7:05 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

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.