The Brewers knew they would have a chance to gain ground before even taking the Nationals Park field after the Cardinals lost to the Cubs, 5-4, earlier in the day. Milwaukee has three more games left in Washington before travelling to Cincinnati for a pivotal three-game set with the Reds. The Brewers then close out their season with a six-game homestand against the Astros and Padres.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have two more games at the Cubs and three more on the road against the Astros before returning home to host the Nationals beginning on Sept. 28. After the three-game set, they will close out their season against the Reds.
Saturday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Brewers (Peralta, 2-0) at Nationals (Gonzalez, 19-8), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
Braves (Minor, 9-10) at Phillies (Halladay, 10-7), 4:05 p.m. Preview >
Dodgers (Fife, 0-1) at Reds (Latos, 12-4), 4:05 p.m. Preview >
Cardinals (Wainwright, 13-13) at Cubs (Wood, 6-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
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.
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.
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
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.