The Rays went into Boston last September for a four-game series and won three times. Manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen 14 times over the course of the long weekend and used eight different relief pitchers. Only one, Joel Peralta, pitched on consecutive days.
That's tough to do from April to August unless the Durham shuttle is working overtime and it's a bit crowded with pitchers coming and going.
But in September? Well, it's just another day.
Rosters expand from 25 to as many as 40 on September 1. That allows teams to add depth to the bench and bullpen and add players they couldn't carry during the first five months of the season, like a power left-handed bat or a player with speed who will be saved for late-inning pinch-running duties.
So, during the most important month of the season, the rules change.
Nothing tests a team like a 162-game schedule. There are injuries, slumps, travel, the weather and the grind of playing nearly every day. But just when a team is really put to the test during the final stretch of the playoff run, here comes help. Some teams bring up a few players, others bring up more. This allows for games with playoff implications played between teams with uneven rosters.
One team has added depth to help with the playoff push, while the other called up young players to get a jump on the evaluations that begin in spring training, making for an uneven playing field.
No other sport does this.
It is a rule that some managers and general managers would like to see modified while others would like to see it go away.
Maddon thinks the numbers of players a team can add should be reduced to "keep some kind of decorum about it, because you're really going back to spring training although it matters a lot more."
Maddon would like to see, if nothing else, a cap on the number of players available for each game.
"I would say no more 30 would be reasonable," he said.
The roster could be limited to 15 position players and 15 pitchers with the manager choosing which players are available each game.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine is not a fan of that, or any roster expansion of any kind. Speaking to reporters in Oakland on Friday, Valentine said he would rather see rosters expanded in April so teams can better decide on their rosters then reduced to 25 the rest of the season, which is how it was done from 1958 to 1967.
If you want to add a player in September, fine. But someone has to go.
The Rays have been able to use this rule to their advantage beginning in 2008 when a left-handed power hitter named Dan Johnson was added to the bench as a late-inning pinch-hit option. The same scenario played out with even greater success last September.
They also brought up David Price in September 2008 with the idea of getting him ready for the postseason by allowing him to pitch in a few games. They did the same last September with Matt Moore.
Fernando Perez came up in September 2008 to add speed to the bench. Rich Thompson was recalled Saturday for the same reason.
Chris Gimenez returns this month to help with the catching and add another bat against left-handed pitching. Reid Brignac is back to add depth to the middle infield. Cesar Ramos is back to serve as the long man in the bullpen. More players will be added early this week.
The roster expansion also allowed the Rays to add Jeff Niemann for Saturday's spot without having to send a pitcher to Durham.
Maddon likes the rule because it enables him to get some of the position players off their feet in the late innings of a lopsided game.
With more arms in the bullpen, it also allows him to match relievers to batters to gain as much of an advantage as possible.
It works both ways, Maddon said. The opposing manager can have more options, too, depending how that team decides to use its September roster.
"Those are the kind of things you can't run away from," Maddon said, "and we don't run away from that."