Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012

Dodgers' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 27, 2012

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers regained a game on the Cardinals for the last National League Wild Card berth with an 8-2 win over the Padres on Wednesday and trail by 3 1/2 games with seven to play.

The Dodgers unleashed a 14-hit attack with four hits and four RBIs from Matt Kemp and four runs scored from Nick Punto. It's the kind of offense that the club expected with the blockbuster acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, but hasn't been getting.

Thursday night is the finale of the final road series of the season for the Dodgers, who finish with a pair of three-game series at home against Colorado and San Francisco.

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

Dodgers (Capuano, 11-11) at Padres (Kelly, 2-2), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

Brewers (Peralta, 2-1) at Reds (Latos, 13-4), 12:25 p.m. Preview >

D-backs (Corbin, 6-7) at Giants (Zito, 13-8), 3:45 p.m. Preview >

Nationals (Gonzalez, 20-8) at Phillies (Cloyd, 2-1), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Marlins (Turner, 2-4) at Braves (Hanson, 12-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

This is how the teams would match up: 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

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