After winning 24 of 30 games from Aug. 20-Sept. 21, the Brewers have now lost five of seven and seen their elimination number shrink to one. That means any loss over the next five games, or any Cardinals win, bounces the Brewers from the National League Wild Card race.
"It's unfortunate, obviously, because we recognize where we're at in the standings," Ryan Braun said. "Definitely a tough one. We'll turn the page and hopefully play better [on Saturday]."
The Astros, meanwhile, will try to spoil the Brewers' late-season comeback.
"They've got some power, they've got some speed, they've got an MVP in the three spot who's dangerous," interim Houston manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "I'm just excited [the Astros] didn't quit. They got another chance to knock a team out of the playoffs. We're trying to win every game."
Saturday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Astros (Keuchel, 3-7) at Brewers (Estrada, 4-7), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Nationals (Zimmermann, 12-8) at Cardinals (Lohse, 16-3), 7:15 p.m. Preview >
Rockies (Chatwood, 5-5) at Dodgers (Blanton, 9-13), 10:10 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