MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't look away from the American League Central race just yet. With five games left and the Tigers' lead over the White Sox down to a single game after Friday's 4-2 loss to the Twins, the nerve-wracking weekend Detroit fans were anticipating is on.
The matchups are still in their favor, with reigning AL MVP and repeat Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander taking the mound on Saturday, followed by the red-hot Anibal Sanchez.
"Every game's going to count," catcher Gerald Laird said. "We knew the White Sox weren't going to go away. We've just got to come back, bounce back tomorrow and get a win and give us a chance to win the series."
The White Sox, meanwhile, have two more meetings with the AL Wild Card-contending Rays, including a Sunday meeting with another Cy Young candidate, David Price.
"You can call [former Tigers closer and current Rays closer] Fernando Rodney and tell him if he shoots [his victory arrow] three times in the next three days, I'll be his cupid forever," manager Jim Leyland said.
Saturday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Tigers (Verlander, 16-8) at Twins (Walters, 2-4), 4:05 p.m. Preview >
Rays (Moore, 10-11) at White Sox (Sale, 17-7), 4:05 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