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A's Path to the Postseason: Oct. 3, 2012

OAK View Full Game Coverage LAND -- With 161 games down and, at the very least, a spot in the American League Wild Card game already secured, the A's will look to lock up the AL West title on Wednesday against the Rangers after tying up the division with Tuesday's 3-1 victory.

The A's enter Wednesday at 93-68, as do the Rangers and Orioles, while the Yankees maintain the best record in the league at 94-67.

Should the A's beat the Rangers for the AL West championship and the Yankees beat the Red Sox in New York, Oakland will be the No. 2 seed and open a best-of-five AL Division Series with the Tigers on Saturday in Detroit.

The A's still have a chance of being the No. 1 seed. If the Yankees lose on Wednesday and the Orioles win, those two would have a one-game tiebreaker to determine the AL East winner on Thursday. If Baltimore wins that game, the A's become the No. 1 seed and open a best-of-five ALDS against the Wild Card winner -- in this case, it would be either the Rangers or Yankees -- on Sunday.

However, if the A's lose, they enter the postseason as one of the two Wild Card teams and, with a Baltimore win Wednesday, would play that one-game playoff on the road Friday. On the flip side, if the Orioles also lose, the A's will play host to them for the Wild Card game.

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

Rangers (Dempster, 12-8) at A's (Griffin, 7-1), 3:35 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Tillman, 9-2) at Rays (Hellickson, 9-11), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Red Sox (Matsuzaka, 1-6) at Yankees (Kuroda, 15-11), 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

Complete schedule »

Oakland Athletics