NEW YORK -- The Yankees concluded a nine-game homestand Sunday in a better place than they started it, with sole possession of first place in the American League East rather than a tie with the Orioles.
That they control their own destiny with 10 games to go and a magic number of five to make the postseason is not lost on the veteran clubhouse. But despite no games remaining against teams with winning records -- the Twins, Blue Jays and Red Sox -- they are not about to take the schedule lightly.
"I don't ever really look at a team and say, 'Their record's maybe not where they thought it should be, and that's a game we should win,'" said manager Joe Girardi. "[The Twins] just won a game, 10-4, in Detroit, so obviously they're swinging the bats."
Today's key games to watch (all times ET)
Yankees (Pettitte, 4-3) at Twins (Hendricks, 1-7), 8:10 p.m. Preview >
Game 1: Blue Jays (Alvarez, 9-13) at Orioles (Johnson, 3-0), 4:05 p.m. Preview >
Game 2: Blue Jays (Romero, 8-14) at Orioles (Chen, 12-9) 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
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.