Living a Dream at Fenway
BOSTON — On May 20, 2016, one of Scott Oberg’s lifetime dreams was shattered when the Colorado Rockies optioned him to Triple-A, just four days before the Tewksbury native would have a chance to pitch at Fenway Park for the first time in his Major League Baseball career.
Three years later, he’s been an extremely important figure in the Rockies’ bullpen, including helping the team reach the playoffs each of the past two years.
Oberg finally got that chance to pitch before his family and friends at the prestigious ballpark on Tuesday night. The 2008 Tewksbury Memorial High School Hall of Famer tossed the eighth inning, giving up an unearned run on two hits. He didn’t factor in the decision as Colorado ended up winning the game behind a RBI single by Mark Reynolds in the top of the 11th to help give the Rockies the 5-4 victory.
“I was little more calm than I thought I would be,” said Oberg. “I was fairly relaxed. It was good visual and a lot of fun. I just had a blast. I was able to fulfill a dream (Tuesday night) so it’s kind of indescribable.”
In the second half of last year’s season, Oberg emerged as one of the top relief pitchers in baseball. He was able to dominate hitters by having better command of his pitches, including his two and four-seam fastball and his slider, which has been a deadly pitch to both left and right handed hitters. After Tuesday night’s appearance, Oberg is 1-0 this season with a 2.00 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 18 innings.
More importantly, he is taken on a much bigger role, serving now as the set-up man/eighth inning pitcher for closer Wade Davis. Last year, former Northeastern University pitcher and a close friend of Oberg’s, Adam Ottavino, had that role, but he left via free agency and signed with the New York Yankees.
Oberg entered the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game with the Rockies ahead 4-3, behind a pair of two-run homers by Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, which took the win and the brilliant performance away from Sox southpaw Chris Sale, who struck out 17 batters through his seven innings.
Xander Bogaerts greeted Oberg first and reached on an error by sure-handed Arenado at third base. After a groundout forced Bogaerts at second, Michael Chavis and pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland followed with singles, the latter driving in Devers to tie the game up at 4-4. Oberg escaped further trouble by getting Eduardo Nunez to line into a double play.
“It was one of those rarities where Nolan made an error and that stuff happens,” said Oberg. “I thought I made some good pitches to Devers. He hit a weird two-hopper and we couldn’t turn (the double play) but we took the out. I thought I made some good pitches there to Chavis and he caught one off the end of the bat. Then I thought I made some good pitches to Moreland. He fouled off some and the last pitch I just missed (my location) and the ball went back over the plate a little bit (and he hit it for a single). Then Nunez hit probably the hardest hit ball of the inning and it was right at somebody (and we got the double play).
“Obviously I don’t want to give up a run in that situation, but I was happy that I was only able to give up one, kept us in the ballgame and we fought back, battled hard and came out with the win. It was pretty exciting.”
Despite giving up the lead, Rockies manager Bud Black was pleased with the performance he got from Oberg and what he’s done over the first 41 games of the season.
“I thought Scotty threw the ball well,” said Black. “He had to battle through after the leadoff guy got on (first) via the error, but I thought Scotty threw well. He’s been pitching very well for us. He’s going to be a contributor (for us) and he’s going to be pitching at the back end of games and help us win. I’m really encouraged by the way Scotty has been throwing the ball and I’m excited about the season moving forward with him and tonight, specifically, I thought he did a nice job.”