Giants' Path to the Posteason: Sept. 15, 2012

Giants' Path to the Posteason: Sept. 15, 2012

PHOENIX -- Though the Giants erased the Arizona Diamondbacks' chances of catching them in the National League West with Friday's 6-2 victory, the division leaders will have no problem staying motivated for the teams' five remaining matchups.

Combined with the Dodgers' victory over St. Louis, the Giants maintained their 7 1/2-game edge over second-place Los Angeles and reduced their magic number for clinching the division title to 11. But the Giants also are pondering other figures, such as their 6-7 season record against Arizona.

The Giants have long memories.

"We had to watch those guys clinch [the division] last year," right-hander Matt Cain said, acknowledging that he and his teammates, who own a winning record against every other West club, would like to add Arizona to that list.

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

Cardinals (Garcia, 4-7) at Dodgers (Blanton, 9-13), 6:10 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

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