Cincinnati will return home to play the Dodgers on Friday. The Reds' magic number to clinch a Wild Card spot went to one as Los Angeles split a doubleheader with the Nationals on Wednesday. A Dodgers loss or a Reds win on Thursday would guarantee Cincinnati a playoff berth.
The Reds (90-59) are also chasing the Nationals (90-58) for the NL's best record and home-field advantage in the playoffs. They are a half-game behind.
"We know it's going to come, but we're not jumping the gun or anything," center fielder Drew Stubbs said of a division clinch. "We'll continue to play the way we have all year and let things take care of themselves."
Thursday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Astros (Norris, 5-12) at Cardinals (Garcia, 4-7), 1:45 p.m. Preview >
Dodgers (Capuano, 11-10) at Nationals (Detwiler, 9-6), 7:05 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