— Missing Mo. This marks the Yankees' 17th playoff appearance in 18 years — but the first one during that stretch without Rivera in the bullpen. The career saves leader and postseason stalwart tore a knee ligament while shagging flies in early May. Soriano stepped in and did a fantastic job, but now the pressure on him intensifies. All it takes is one blown save in October, especially when you're replacing Mr. Automatic.
— Closing Time. If the Orioles have a lead in the late innings, they're awfully tough to beat. They were 74-0 when leading after seven innings, the best mark in the majors. Johnson hasn't blown a save opportunity since July 27 and finished the regular season with 20 saves and an ERA under 1.00 after July 30. He didn't allow an earned run until May 10 and hasn't given up a HR since June 5. His 2.49 ERA would be a whole lot better if not for two appearances in which he yielded a total of 11 runs. He allowed 10 runs in his other 69 games.
— Money Player. Swisher has been a consistent run-producer during four years in pinstripes, but also a postseason flop. Eligible for free agency after the season, the bubbly switch-hitter is under pressure to come through.
— Going Deep. These Orioles are patterned after those Earl Weaver teams of long ago. Rarely do they seek to manufacture runs with bunts and steals; rather, they rely on the three-run homer. The formula has worked. Baltimore hit 127 homers at Camden Yards, its most at home in one season.
— Sore Spot? At age 37, Rodriguez doesn't look like the same hitter who carried the Yankees to their most recent championship with a huge 2009 postseason. Of course, he's been a perennial October bust besides that. A double in the regular-season finale was A-Rod's first extra-base hit since Sept. 14. Opposing pitchers wary of Cano might choose to go after Rodriguez, and he needs to do his share.