At the start of a season, all wins are the same and nobody knows which games will be the crucial ones that make or break the season. But by game 160 of the season, if you haven't mathematically clinched a playoff spot or been eliminated from a playoff spot, you know for certain which games are absolutely crucial: all of them. Suddenly, the value of one game goes from one in 162 to possibly your whole season.
So, let's say that you're the Boston Red Sox, and you find yourself facing the prospect of a one-game playoff if you don't win Wednesday. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweeted early Monday that the Red Sox are still exploring the option of bringing in a pitcher for a single game. Jon Lester's scheduled to go Wednesday on three-days' rest, but he hasn't been sharp lately and the Red Sox would prefer to hold him off if they had a better option, something they don't currently have. So the question becomes: Is it worth it for them to trade for a pitcher for one game who would not be eligible for the postseason?