Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

NEW YORK -- The Yankees maintained their one-game lead over the Orioles in the American League East on Friday, defeating the Athletics, 2-1, in 10 innings for their sixth consecutive victory.

Wells Fargo

Baltimore continued to keep pace with a 4-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and though there are just 12 games remaining on each club's schedule, the Yankees' confidence is helped by knowing that they continue to control their own destiny.

"Every game is big," Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. "I don't care if we're playing the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland A's, whoever. It doesn't matter. Every game is big."

For today's purposes, it's the Athletics, against whom New York has two more contests this weekend before a final 10-game stretch against the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox. New York's magic number to secure a postseason berth has been reduced to seven, and the magic number to clinch the AL East is 12. 

The Orioles have an all-AL East slate remaining, hosting the Blue Jays and Red Sox before traveling to St. Petersburg, where the Rays sit 6 1/2 games back of New York as they slide out of contention in the division. Tampa Bay is 4 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot.

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

A's (Blackley, 5-3) at Yankees (Nova, 12-7), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Wolf, 5-10) at Red Sox (Cook, 4-10), 1:10 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

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.