Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

NEW YORK -- The Yankees concluded a nine-game homestand Sunday in a better place than they started it, with sole possession of first place in the American League East rather than a tie with the Orioles.

That they control their own destiny with 10 games to go and a magic number of five to make the postseason is not lost on the veteran clubhouse. But despite no games remaining against teams with winning records -- the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox -- they are not about to take the schedule lightly.

"I don't ever really look at a team and say, 'Their record's maybe not where they thought it should be, and that's a game we should win,'" said manager Joe Girardi. "[The Twins] just won a game, 10-4, in Detroit, so obviously they're swinging the bats."

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

Yankees (Pettitte, 4-3) at Twins (Hendricks, 1-7), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

Game 1: Blue Jays (Alvarez, 9-13) at Orioles (Johnson, 3-0), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Game 2: Blue Jays (Romero, 8-14) at Orioles (Chen, 12-9) 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

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