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

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

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Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 29, 2012
TORONTO -- The Yankees have peeled another day off the calendar and posted another victory, and what they're even more certain of now is that this race will go right down to the finish.

New York's magic number to clinch a postseason spot is now two and its magic number to clinch the American League East is five, but the Orioles refuse to budge.

With five games to play, the first-place Yankees and second-place Orioles enter play on Saturday separated by one game for the AL East lead. The Yankees can clinch a postseason berth on Saturday with a win and a Rangers victory over the Angels.

"We know we have to win, but we've been through that a lot this month," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think our guys have handled it well, and they just focus on what they have to do. That's all you can really do. You've got to focus on what you can do."

Yankees catcher Russell Martin said that, while his team was drubbing the Blue Jays 11-4 on Friday, he couldn't help but notice how Baltimore had pounced on the Red Sox early during its 9-1 victory.

"They put it on the board -- everybody saw it, I think," Martin said. "It really doesn't affect how you go about your business. Obviously, we want them to lose as much as possible, but they don't really seem like they want to give in. It's going to be coming down to the wire, I think."

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

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

Mariners (Vargas, 14-11) at A's (Straily, 2-1), 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

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.

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{"content":["path_to_the_postseason" ] }
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