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Pirates' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Pirates' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Pirates' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012
The Pirates' chase of a National League Wild Card berth remained wild, all right, as they lost -- again -- 2-1 in Cincinnati but did not lose ground -- again.

Both the team they are chasing, the Cardinals, and the team immediately ahead of them, the Dodgers, dropped 3-2 decisions in San Diego and Arizona, respectively. As a result, with 20 games remaining, the Bucs stuck 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, who trail St. Louis by one game.

In losing 11 of their last 15 games, the Bucs have actually gained a half-game on the Cards, whom they trailed by three games before that stretch.

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A golden opportunity to daily make up ground on one of those two awaits. Following an off-day Thursday, the Bucs will begin a four-game series in Chicago. Concurrently, the Cards and Dodgers will clash with each other four times in Los Angeles.

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

Cardinals (Lynn, 14-7) at Dodgers (Beckett, 6-13), 10:10 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

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

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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