Phillies' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

Phillies' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA -- With their 2-1 loss to the Braves on Sunday, the Phillies' already slim postseason chances became even slimmer.

The Cardinals won, moving five games ahead of the Phillies for the National League's second Wild Card spot with only nine games left to play. The Brewers also won and are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies. The Dodgers went into their game Sunday night with a 1 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia, which is tied with the D-backs.

"The noose is getting tight, but we're still there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We haven't stopped breathing yet."

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Phillies, who play the first of six remaining games against the first-place Nationals on Tuesday.

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

Brewers (Estrada, 4-6) at Nationals (Zimmermann, 11-8), 1:05 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Lynn, 16-7) at Astros (TBD), 8:05 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

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