White Sox Path to the Postseason: Sept. 21, 2012

White Sox Path to the Postseason: Sept. 21, 2012

KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox wrapped up their season series with the Royals on Thursday, and they did it with yet another loss. With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, Eric Hosmer slapped a single down the third-base line off Matt Thornton to score the winning run for a 4-3 walk-off win.

Wells Fargo

It was a disappointing loss in light of the Tigers' 12-4 defeat at the hands of the A's earlier in the day. With both teams losing, Chicago's lead in the American League Central race remained at two games.

"We've been doing a great job putting games behind us," outfielder Alex Rios said. "We've been tied at one point in the season, and we've gained terrain late. So it doesn't matter. We just need to keep playing the same game that we've been playing, and that's it."

The White Sox head out to the West Coast for a three-game set with the Angels, who are vying for their own spot in the postseason. Jake Peavy gets the ball in the series opener Friday night. The All-Star right-hander is 0-2 in four career starts against the Angels with a 5.40 ERA.

The White Sox dropped five of their six series this year against Kansas City, but they'll now become some of the Royals' biggest fans. The Royals have seven games remaining against the Tigers.

"I love where we're at. Two games up is better than two games behind. We control our own destiny, and we just need to go out and win ballgames," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said.

Friday's key games to watch (all times CT)

Twins (Deduno, 6-4) at Tigers (Porcello, 9-12), 6:05 p.m. Preview >

White Sox (Peavy, 11-11) at Angels (Santana, 8-12), 9:05 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

Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.