Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge each bolstered their respective 2022 American League MVP Award resume over the Los Angeles Angels' home series win over the New York Yankees.
Ohtani recorded two home runs and five RBI in the three-game series. The reigning AL MVP Award winner also had the last laugh in the series finale with the game-winning, three-run home run off of Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. On the other hand, Judge logged two home runs and four RBI in the series against the AL West side, which included belting the 50th dinger of his campaign on Tuesday.
As was the case last season when Ohtani squared off with Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the 2021 AL MVP Award, this year's race for the honor will come down to the final full month of the regular season. For Ohtani, he is garnering plenty of motivation with this tightly contested award race.
“It definitely leads to motivation to do better and try to go for that hardware,” Ohtani said after the Angels' 3-2 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday. “It's something I think about. But for the most part, I take it game by game and at-bat by at-bat.
“At the end of the day, we'll count it all up.”
Ohtani has continued to make history in his fifth year in the majors. For one, his three-run home run against the Yankees on Wednesday was the 30th blast of his season, as he became the first player ever to notch at least 30 home runs and 10 wins in a single campaign. Overall, his grand success on the mound has attracted much attention, as he has posted a 2.67 ERA to go along with a 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings mark this season.
Judge has also reached a multitude of notable feats this year, and he is inching closer to breaking Roger Maris’ record (61 in 1961) for the most home runs in a single season in Yankees franchise history.
For now, the Angels are set for a three-game home series against the Houston Astros, while the Yankees will meet the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game road set beginning on Friday. The Yankees currently hold a 6.0 game lead over the Rays for the top spot in the AL East.