MARK MULDER: Oakland's 21-game winner will start Game 1 and -- if necessary -- Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, where in two career starts he's been pounded to the tune of a 12.11 ERA. Starting opposite Mulder will be fellow Cy Young candidate Roger Clemens, who hasn't beaten Oakland in five career playoff starts, including two in last year's ALDS. Mulder didn't pitch in that series because of an injury, so he's making his career playoff debut Wednesday night in the Bronx. If Mulder falters, that will put a ton of pressure on the A's in Game 2 and could play with Mulder's head in a possible fifth game. If Mulder prevails, the A's will have gained the split they're looking for in New York.
JOHNNY DAMON: The center fielder gives the A's a weapon they didn't have in last year's ALDS: speed. When he's on top of his game, he commands the attention of pitchers, catchers and middle infielders, and that can lead to havoc. The problem for Oakland is that Damon hasn't been on top of his game for much of the year. He hit below .220 in the season's first two months, and he finished the season at about .260. He's a playoff rookie, too, and if he can shine under the bright lights, Oakland's offense likely will be at its best.
JASON ISRINGHAUSEN: Isringhausen, a right-hander, matched his career high in saves this season with 33, but he led the league in blown saves for much of the year and finished with nine. A former starter with the New York Mets, "Izzy" returns to the Big Apple as a soon-to-be free agent. If he avoids the big blows that have haunted him and locks down some W's, his agent will be smiling right along with Oakland Manager Art Howe.
GREG MYERS: Brought in to provide left-handed pop and a veteran sounding board for young starting catcher Ramon Hernandez, Myers has been everything the A's hoped for. He's hit a career-high 11 homers in limited duty this year (he started the season with the Baltimore Orioles), so don't be shocked if he pumps one out as a pinch-hitter.
F.P. SANTEGELO: Santangelo was another one of Oakland's big midseason additions. Called up from Triple-A in late July, he's played mostly at second base but is capable of filling in all over the outfield. Santangelo is an emotional, hard-nosed player, and he might start a game or two at second. If he does, expect him to be in the middle of something crucial.
Mychael Urban is the site reporter for oaklandathletics.com and can be reached at email@example.com. Site Manager Kieron Slaughter contributed to this piece.