If the Tigers need evidence of what can happen to three-game deficits in 16 games, they can look to the Rays and the Cardinals last year. That part doesn't faze them in the wake of Monday's loss to the first-place White Sox.
At this point, though, they're worried more about their own situation than that of the White Sox.
That won't be hard to do this week. While the White Sox head back on the road to try to solve their woes against Kansas City, the Tigers face a surging A's squad that currently owns the second-best record in the American League. Detroit has lined up Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander against them in what should be three pitching duels.
If Detroit can get through these next three games with the White Sox still close, they'll play their final 13 games against Minnesota and Kansas City. The White Sox will visit the Angels before facing the Rays.
"I've been down more and still won a division," Delmon Young said. "We've just got to go out there and try to win ballgames and try to get within a game within the last week."Tuesday's key games to watch (all times ET)
A's (Griffin, 6-0) at Tigers (Scherzer, 16-6), 7:05 p.m. ET Preview >White Sox (Floyd, 9-10) at Royals (Hochevar, 8-13), 8:10 p.m. ET 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