WASHINGTON -- After Monday's 12-2 defeat by the Nationals, the Brewers will continue their road trip 3 1/2 games back of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race.

The loss handed the Brewers a series split with the Nats, owners of baseball's best record. But while Milwaukee begins a tough three-game set in Cincinnati on Tuesday, St. Louis gets three games in Houston against the last-place Astros.

"We'll stay positive, that won't be an issue," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We need to have a good series against Cincinnati. But when we went on the road, to think that we're going to come out of the road with winning 10 games against the two best teams in baseball? That's not really going to happen."

Mike Fiers gets the call in the series opener, opposite Reds righty Johnny Cueto.

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

Brewers (Fiers, 9-8) at Reds (Cueto, 18-9), 7:10 p.m. Preview >

Cardinals (Garcia, 5-7) at Astros (Harrell, 10-10), 8:05 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