So many things went wrong for the Minnesota Twins in Game 3 on Tuesday. It was a perfect concoction of complications, with the offense going ice cold and pitchers getting shelled into oblivion.
Sonny Gray was already in a 4-0 hole before he could get out of the first inning, thanks to a juicy sweeper he left hanging for Jose Abreu and an error by Alex Kirilloff that extended the inning. Royce Lewis didn't reach base once, the top of the order was quiet, and the bullpen was rocked in the final innings.
It was a very bad day.
Even the fans apparently contributed to the Astros jumping all over Minnesota in Game 3. Make no mistake, despite the game starting at 3:07 pm on a Tuesday, Target Field was over capacity and absolutely rocking. With the team down by four runs, the crowd still exploded when Gray got out of the inning with a strikeout, and the electricity was present far longer than it could have been.
Where fans apparently erred was when they started to count down the pitch clock on Astros starter Cristian Javier. Fans at home and beat writers in the press box applauded the sentiment but questioned whether counting down the clock correctly might actually help Javier rather than intimidate him.
As it turns out, Javier appreciated the gesture.
Astros pitcher says Twins fans helped him by counting down pitch clock
After the game, Javier told reporters that Twins fans counting down the pitch clock like it was a college basketball game helped him time his pitches. The crowd was so useful that Javier said he eventually stopped paying attention to catcher Martín Maldonado.
“I did notice it and when I did I used it in my favor," Javier said. "At that point, I stopped paying attention to the clock because they were counting and just paid attention to the catcher.”
Even when Twins fans are trying to be intimidating, we're still too Minnesota Nice. To be fair, the countdown eventually stopped and it was really cool to hear the crowd so into the game. Twins fans were criticized heading into the postseason for not showing up enough during the 18-game losing streak, but have answered the bell in a big way this postseason.
Yankees announcer Michael Kay, who was on the call for ESPN during the AL Wild Card, couldn't stop gushing about how incredible fans were. MLB has given fans the shaft by scheduling every single game at Target Field in the middle of a work day but fans have still showed up and made enough noise that base runners can't hear their coaches tell them to get back.
Twins fans deserve nothing but praise for how they've supported the team and created a true playoff atmosphere this October. We're still new at this, though, and next time the pitch clock gets counted down it won't be as courteous as it was in Game 3.