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Phillies' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

Phillies' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012

Phillies' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 15, 2012
HOUSTON -- Cole Hamels wasn't at his best on Friday, but the offense carried the Phillies to a 12-6 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Phillies wasted a four-run lead in a loss to the Astros on Thursday.

"Just being able to go out there and forget about it, and come back today with the big homer by Jimmy [Rollins] and all the runs we were able to put up, that kind of just pushes us toward getting ready for tomorrow," Hamels said.

The Phillies now sit three games back of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race. The Pirates dropped the first game of a three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field to keep them at three games back. Milwaukee lost to the Mets and sits 3 1/2 games back. The D-backs lost to the Giants and are 4 1/2 games out from the second Wild Card spot.

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

Pirates (Rodriguez, 3-4) at Cubs (Berken, 0-0), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Jackson, 9-10) at Braves (Hanson, 12-8), 4:05 p.m. Preview >

Phillies (Kendrick, 9-10) at Astros (Keuchel, 1-7), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Mets (Mejia, 0-0) at Brewers (Marcum, 5-4), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Garcia, 4-7) at Dodgers (Blanton, 1-4), 9:10 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. 1

Clark Goble 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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