Brewers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

Brewers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 13, 2012

MILWAUKEE -- A month ago, the prospect of postseason baseball at Miller Park was utterly unthinkable. Now it's at least possible, thanks to a remarkable Brewers surge that continued with a three-game sweep of the Braves after Wednesday's 8-2 win.

For the first time since they opened an early-April series in Atlanta at 4-3, the Brewers are over .500 at 72-71.

And that's just the start.

By winning 17 of their last 19 home games, including nine in a row, and 18 of 23 games overall, the Brewers have played their way into postseason contention. They are one of six teams within four games of the National League's second Wild Card spot.

The Cardinals still hold that spot at 75-68, followed by the Dodgers one game back, the Pirates 2 1/2 games back, the Phillies and Brewers three games back and the D-backs four games back.

"You add that one extra spot and everybody seems like they're in it now," said fill-in first baseman Travis Ishikawa, whose three-run double represented the dagger on Wednesday night. "We're so close, yet there are, what, three teams in front of us? We've still got a long way to go."

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

Phillies (Cloyd, 1-1) at Astros (Harrell, 10-9), 8:05 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Lynn, 17-6) at Dodgers (Beckett, 6-13), 10:10 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

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.