"We've just got to go out there and try to win ballgames and try to get within a game within the last week," Delmon Young said after last Monday's loss to the White Sox dropped them three back with 16 games to play.
They're there, just not quite the way they expected.
They were closer going into Sunday and hoping for at least a tie atop the division, with two games against Minnesota while Jered Weaver faced the White Sox in Anaheim. The Tigers got swept, but Weaver's win meant they only lost a half-game.
Now, the Tigers will host the Royals for four games, while the White Sox will try to recover from their sweep to the Angels by welcoming the Indians to Chicago.
Both matchups take up the bulk of the remaining schedule. The Tigers will face the Royals seven times over their final 10 games. The White Sox have six games coming against Cleveland.
Monday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Royals (Hochevar, 8-14) at Tigers (Verlander, 15-8), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Indians (McAllister, 5-8) at White Sox (Sale, 17-7), 8:10 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