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Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012

Tampa Bay lost, 3-2, in 14 innings to Baltimore on Thursday, giving the Rays a bleak outlook heading to New York for a weekend series against the Yankees.

With 19 games remaining on their schedule, the Rays sport a three-game losing streak while falling four games behind the American League East-leading Orioles and Yankees. Those clubs are also tied for the second AL Wild Card.

Boding well for the Rays is the fact David Price, James Shields and Matt Moore will pitch for them over the weekend. Rays manager Joe Maddon remains optimistic about his team's fortunes.

"Things change rather quickly in this game," Maddon said. "Just wait 24 hours to see if the wind's not blowing in your direction, all of a sudden, it can if, in fact, you keep fighting, which we will. We'll just play tomorrow's game and see what happens, then we'll try and adjust for the next game."

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

Rays (Price, 17-5) at Yankees (Sabathia, 13-5), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Saunders, 8-11) at A's (Milone, 12-10), 10:05 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. 112

Tampa Bay lost, 3-2, in 14 innings to Baltimore on Thursday, giving the Rays a bleak outlook heading to New York for a weekend series against the Yankees.

With 19 games remaining on their schedule, the Rays sport a three-game losing streak while falling four games behind the American League East-leading Orioles and Yankees. Those clubs are also tied for the second AL Wild Card.

Boding well for the Rays is the fact David Price, James Shields and Matt Moore will pitch for them over the weekend. Rays manager Joe Maddon remains optimistic about his team's fortunes.

"Things change rather quickly in this game," Maddon said. "Just wait 24 hours to see if the wind's not blowing in your direction, all of a sudden, it can if, in fact, you keep fighting, which we will. We'll just play tomorrow's game and see what happens, then we'll try and adjust for the next game."

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

Rays (Price, 17-5) at Yankees (Sabathia, 13-5), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Saunders, 8-11) at A's (Milone, 12-10), 10:05 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. 112

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays