Shohei Ohtani is the ‘most valuable player of our game right now,’ Angels interim manager says

Shohei Ohtani is the 'most valuable player of our game right now,' Angels interim manager says thumbnail

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Los Angeles Angels interim manager Phil Nevin has a unique perspective when it comes to questions about the American League MVP race.

Nevin was the third-base coach for the New York Yankees for four seasons and saw up close just how much damage Aaron Judge is capable of at the plate. He was the Angels’ third base coach this season but was promoted to manager when Joe Maddon was fired. Nevin has had the opportunity to see and use Shohei Ohtani who is a candidate for a second consecutive MVP award.

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani congratulates first baseman Mike Ford for getting Seattle Mariners' Carlos Santana out on a ground ball in Anaheim, California, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani congratulates first baseman Mike Ford for getting Seattle Mariners’ Carlos Santana out on a ground ball in Anaheim, California, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

When it comes down to it, Nevin expressed his support for Ohtani despite Judge being on pace for the Triple Crown.

” “I’ve said it before. He’s the most important player of our game at the moment,” Nevin said about Ohtani after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Seattle Mariners. “Until someone can come in and do what he does on both the sides, I don’t see it going any different,” Nevin said of Ohtani after Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. Aaron Judge is a great friend and a wonderful son. But, I will keep saying it: Ohtani can take over a baseball team like no one else. “

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani celebrates with interim manager Phil Nevin after the Angels defeated the Seattle Mariners 2-1, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Anaheim, California.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani celebrates with interim manager Phil Nevin after the Angels defeated the Seattle Mariners 2-1, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Anaheim, California.
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Ohtani was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored in the win. On the bump, he struck out eight in seven innings and moved to 13-8 with a 2. 43 ERA. He said that he doesn’t like to self-criticism himself in any way. “One thing I can say is that overall, balance-wise I’m having an even better season than last year. Judge is the best player in the American League. Ohtani and Judge are the best.

Los Angeles Angels interim manager Phil Nevin and Shohei Ohtani stand in the dugout watching the Guardians game, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Cleveland.

Los Angeles Angels interim manager Phil Nevin and Shohei Ohtani stand in the dugout watching the Guardians game, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Cleveland.
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

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Judge is on a record-setting home-run pace for the Yankees. He has 57 homers on the season – four off from tying Roger Maris’ AL record of 61. He leads the majors in RBI (123), on-base percentage (. 415), slugging percentage (. 687) and OPS (1.102).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Ryan.Gaydos@fox.com can be contacted with story tips

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