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This Rays relay play is phenomenal

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Hopefully you were watching the Astros-Rays game last night. If life interrupted and you didn’t get a chance to see it, however, know that you missed one of the best defensive plays that’s come down the pike in some time.

It wasn’t some individual act of superhuman defense. It wasn’t an Ozzie Smith-style act of wizardry or a Jim Edmonds-style lay-out catch. It was just perfect — and I mean 100% perfect — fundamentally sound team defense. Defense that would make Tom Emanski and Fred McGriff sit up from their recliners, look at each other and say “damn, that’s some nifty friggin’ defense.”

Not that I know if those two hang out or anything. Anyway.

The play came with the Rays up 3-0 with one out in the top of the fourth inning. José Altuve was on first. Big hitter Yordan Álvarez was at the plate and he tattooed one to dead center, that hit just in front of the base of the wall. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier played the carom cleanly, fired it to shortstop Willy Adames who, in turn, fired it to catcher Travis d'Arnaud who executed a perfect tag to nail Altuve at the plate.

That may sound moderately routine, but the speed and precision it took from all three Rays defenders to nail Altuve — who was racing the whole way — was astounding to watch in real time:

 

If any part of that relay is executed any less than perfectly, Altuve is safe and the Astros are in business in a close game. Instead we got the Platonic ideal of a relay play. The kind of play that, if the Rays somehow get past Gerrit Cole on Thursday and mount a deep playoff run, we’ll likely see as one of the signature moments of the season.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”