SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers, needing a series sweep, were dealt a crushing series-opening blow by the Padres on Tuesday night, a 2-1 loss in which Los Angeles virtually beat itself.
The loss left the Dodgers 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second National League Wild Card berth with only eight games to play, two more in this series against the Padres, then three each at home against Colorado and San Francisco.
The only good news for the Dodgers is that Clayton Kershaw is now penciled in as the starting pitcher Friday night against the Rockies. Kershaw has been dealing with a right hip impingement.
Wednesday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Dodgers (Harang, 9-10) at Padres (Richard, 14-12), 6:35 p.m. Preview >
Nationals (Lannan, 3-0) at Phillies (Kendrick, 10-11), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Marlins (Johnson, 8-13) at Braves (Maholm, 12-10), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Brewers (Marcum, 5-4) at Reds (Arroyo, 12-8), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Pirates (Locke, 0-2) at Mets (Hefner, 2-7), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
Cardinals (Carpenter, 0-0) at Astros (Norris, 5-13), 8:05 p.m. Preview >
D-backs (Miley, 16-10) at Giants (Cain, 15-5), 10:15 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
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.