Los Angeles Angels manager Phil Nevin has been the subject of a ton of criticism by fans. Some of it has been fair, some not as much.
Nevin has been far from perfect in his first full season as Angels manager, but he's been improving as the season has gone along in my opinion, and he just had his best night in the Angels victory over the Guardians.
With the Angels locked into a tight battle at Progressive Field, a place they hadn't won at in years, Nevin helped the Angels sneak out with a victory.
Phil Nevin pushed all the right buttons in LA Angels victory
The Angels somehow, someway, won last night's game in Cleveland to snap a ten-game losing streak at Progressive Field. It was a game they should've had, but seemed to have given away. The Angels then stormed back against one of, if not the best closer in all of baseball to steal a win. There's a good chance they don't win this game without two Phil Nevin decisions.
The first move Nevin made was running Brett Phillips for Anthony Rendon. While this might've seemed obvious at the time, Nevin waited until it was a 2-2 count. Not only that, he waited until Hunter Renfroe proved he can make consistent contact against Emmanuel Clase, a pitcher who can throw a 100 mph cutter.
Renfroe fouled many pitches off before Phillips ran for Rendon. Phillips then was sent and was going to be sent every single pitch until Renfroe put the ball in play. Renfroe hit a groundball to second which would've been a game-ending double play had Phillips not been put in motion. The second baseman threw home, Mike Trout scored, and the Angels had tied the game.
Sending Phillips was a risk, especially with Hunter Renfroe, a guy who strikes out a good amount, at the plate. A strikeout and a caught stealing ends the game right there. Nevin pushed the right button.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Guardians were threatening against Carlos Estevez. Back-to-back two out singles put runners on the corners with two outs and Josh Naylor was the batter scheduled to hit. Nevin had two options. One, pitch to Naylor, or two, walk him.
Pitching to Naylor wouldn't have been the worst idea ever. He did hit a home run before, but walking him put the winning run in scoring position and Naylor is a hitter hitting under .200 on the season. A single from the following batter would've ended the game.
Nevin, after talking to Estevez on the mound opted to walk Naylor and pitch to Will Brennan instead. The Angels right-hander got the job done once again and struck Brennan out to secure the victory.
Nevin took two risks and they both worked in the Angels favor. It hasn't been often where Nevin seemed to push the right buttons like he did last night. It's important to give credit where it's due, and Nevin absolutely played a big role in the victory.