Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Oct. 2, 2012
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' magic number to win the American League East sits at two with two games remaining in the regular season against Boston. The Orioles, trailing New York by one game in the division, have two games left against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

A New York win Tuesday coupled with a Baltimore loss means the Yankees will win the AL East and let them avoid a win-or-go-home AL Wild Card game on Friday.

The Yankees have two of their most consistent starters heading to the mound for their final two games, although Hiroki Kuroda has a much larger sample size than rookie David Phelps.

They will hope to back Phelps on Tuesday like they did with CC Sabathia on Monday, when they scored nine runs in the second inning, then followed along as the Orioles lost to the Rays.

"It's human nature. You're going to go look at the scoreboard," said first baseman Mark Teixeira. "Happy that we won, happy that the Orioles lost, obviously."

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

Red Sox (Lester, 9-14) at Yankees (David Phelps, 4-4), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Gonzalez, 8-4) at Rays (Shields, 15-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Rangers (Harrison, 18-10) at A's (Blackley, 5-4), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

Angels (Haren, 12-12) at Mariners (Iwakuma, 8-5), 10:10 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

Complete schedule »

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