ARLINGTON -- The Rangers opened up a four-game series against the Athletics with a 5-4 victory on Monday night. They now have a chance to close out the American League West race by the time Oakland leaves town on Thursday.The Rangers' magic number to clinch the division is five. That means if the Rangers win three more games against the Athletics, they will clinch their third straight division title on Thursday afternoon. "I'm not thinking about closing out a division title," manager Ron Washington said. "I'm just worried about winning today's game." The Rangers, who are now 91-62, remain two games ahead of the Yankees for the best record in the American League. As of right now, the Rangers would open the playoffs against the winner of the Wild Card game on Oct. 7 on the road.
Today's key games to watch (all times ET)
A's (Milone, 13-10) at Rangers (Darvish, 16-9), 8:05 p.m. Preview >
Mariners (Ramirez, 1-2) at Angels (Greinke, 14-5), 10:05 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
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.