This past week, Colorado Rockies Manager Bud Black announced that Scott Oberg will be moved from the set-up role to the closer role for the time being until the team's regular closer Wade Davis can get back on track after a season of struggles, mostly at home.
Before Monday, Oberg ranked second among National League relievers with a 1.62 ERA and a .174 batting average against. He is also 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA at hitter-friendly Coors Field, including not giving up a home run over 22 appearances.
Oberg hasn't given up a run in five straight appearances and picked up a save on August 2nd in a win over San Francisco. On the season, he is 5-1 with a 1.53 ERA, including 54 strikeouts in 53 innings, and has four saves.
“The changes Scott has made, and the ability to repeat his delivery, has made him more dependable,” Black said to Denver Post reporter Patrick Saunders. “He’s around the zone much more consistently and the ball is down, much more consistently. When that happens, you are going to have success. His walks have come down, too.”
Two weeks ago Oberg told the Town Crier how much his confidence has grown over the last year-plus, and he echoed those same words to Saunders.
“My confidence is pretty solid right now. I look back at video of 2015, ’16 and ’17 and my mechanics were all over the place. I’m a much more consistent pitcher now. My delivery is much more repeatable. Having closing experience in the minor leagues gave me a sense of it. And in my case, I was a reliever all through college and I was drafted as a reliever. So the back end of the bullpen has always been on my mind.
“Get to the seventh-inning spot, where I got to last year. Get to the eighth-inning spot, which I got to this year. Those were steps. Hopefully, I can continue down that road where I can get the opportunity to be a closer on a consistent basis.”
He now has the chance to close games out at the MLB level.
“It’s different at the end of the game, but I would try to treat it like any other outing and pitch my game,” he said to Saunders. “The key is that you have to get ahead, especially here at Coors. That’s key. And you can’t walk guys. I’ve run into that situation before here where it’s walks and homers, and then you’re dead meat.”