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Rays' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 18, 2012
ST. View Full Game Coverage PETERSBURG -- After taking a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Monday night, the Rays fell five games behind the Orioles for the American League's second Wild Card spot.

Monday night's setback also dropped the Rays (78-69) to 5 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, and the idle Angels gained a half-game on the Rays in the Wild Card race as they trail the Orioles by 2 1/2 games for the second spot.

With just 15 games remaining on their schedule, the Rays' elimination number for the AL East has dwindled to 11.

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

A's (Griffin, 6-0) at Tigers (Scherzer, 16-6), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Blue Jays (Romero, 8-14) at Yankees (Pettitte, 3-3), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

White Sox (Floyd, 9-10) at Royals (Hochevar, 8-13), 8:10 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Chen, 12-9) at Mariners (Ramirez, 1-2), 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

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays