Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 28, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 28, 2012

TORONTO -- Nick Swisher describes the Yankees' current situation as being "a little six-game playoff race," but the magnitude of these games feels anything but small.

Swisher and the Yankees have six more games to hold off the Orioles for first place in the American League East, with New York entering play on Friday with a one-game advantage over Baltimore.

"It's still one game. That's big," Swisher said after New York's 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday. "Tonight wasn't our night. We'll go home, get some good sleep and turn it around tomorrow."

The Yankees' magic number to secure a playoff spot is three, with the magic number to win the AL East at six. This should be familiar territory for the Yankees; after all, the clubs haven't been separated by two or more games in the division race since Sept. 2.

"We've been playing playoff-type games since September first, so nothing's really changed," Alex Rodriguez said.

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

Yankees (Kuroda, 14-11) at Blue Jays (Jenkins, 0-2), 7:07 p.m. Preview >

Red Sox (Cook, 4-10) at Orioles (Tillman, 8-2), 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

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.