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Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 30, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 30, 2012

Braves' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 30, 2012
ATLANTA -- With a 2-0 victory over the Mets on Saturday night, the Braves stayed in the race for the National League East for at least one more day. But with the Nationals' 6-4 win over the Cardinals in 10 innings, Washington's magic number to clinch the division fell to one.

The Braves are four games behind the Nationals with four to play. Even if Atlanta wins its last four games (one more against the Mets and three in Pittsburgh) and Washington loses its last four (one more in St. Louis and three against the Phillies), the two teams would still tie. Because the Nationals won the season series, they would host a tiebreaker Thursday in Washington.

Still, the Braves are still keeping an eye on the Nationals, knowing they will play in the Wild Card game even if they aren't able to win the division.

"I think everybody is watching to see what is going on," catcher Brian McCann said. "It's just part of the game. We're already in the Wild Card game and we're already playing at home. We'd like to win the division. So we've got to hope they lose."

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

Mets (Mejia, 1-1) at Braves (Medlen, 9-1), 1:35 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Detwiler, 10-7) at Cardinals (Lynn, 17-7), 2:15 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

Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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