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Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 22, 2012
PHILADELPHIA -- While spending this weekend attempting to damage the surging Phillies' postseason hopes, the Braves will keep their eyes on what transpires during the four-game series the Nationals are currently playing against the Brewers.

With Friday night's 6-2 loss to the Phillies, the Braves were unable to take advantage of the Brewers' ninth-inning rally that doomed the Nationals. A win in Philadelphia would have moved them one game closer to the first-place Nationals, who lead the National League East by 5 1/2 games.

The Braves remain six games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card standings. The top two teams will meet in a one-game playoff to determine which advances to the Division Series. Atlanta's magic number to clinch a playoff berth also remained at five because of the streaking Brewers' comeback win.

"We've got enough stress going on, on the field," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "The last thing we need to worry about is whether Milwaukee is beating Washington tonight. We've got to take care of our business. If we don't take care of our business, it doesn't really matter what is going on behind us on the scoreboard."

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

Braves (Minor, 9-10) at Phillies (Halladay, 10-7), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Brewers (Peralta, 2-0) at Nationals (Gonzalez, 19-8), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Wainwright, 13-13) at Cubs (Wood, 6-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Dodgers (Fife, 0-1) at Reds (Latos, 12-4), 4:05 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

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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