LOS ANGELES – Earlier than every of his innings, Rockies right-hander Ryan Feltner swivels his hips, as soon as to every aspect. Then there are crossways soccer kicks, left then proper. He takes his glove in his proper hand and does a stretch over his shoulder earlier than pantomiming a throw. Solely then does he stride to the mound.
This might develop right into a line dance if Feltner goes from rookie rotation member to one thing particular. However Feltner, deep into analytics and science, finds the wiggles purposeful after sitting within the dugout. He additionally ices his fingers, a hand or his cheeks for performance-aiding blood circulation.
Feltner and the Rockies use data and innovation to feed his starvation for successful. Feltner feasted for six innings, throughout which he restricted a formidable lineup to 4 hits and escaped a serious jam, because the Rockies took their third straight recreation over the 110-win Dodgers, 5-2, on Tuesday evening.
In his nineteenth begin in 20 Main League appearances, with journeys to Triple-A Albuquerque in between, Feltner, 26, spent his rookie 12 months harnessing his supply, studying a brand new sinker and determining find out how to manipulate his slider. Rockies supervisor Bud Black and pitching coach Darryl Scott didn’t thoughts treating Feltner as a scholar within the Majors on the times between begins, as a result of that scholar offers method to a fiery competitor.
“That man’s in there,” Feltner mentioned. “I used to indicate that a little bit bit. I nonetheless really feel that method inside. However as a beginning pitcher — and I’ve had this discuss with Buddy — you’ll be able to’t be too emotional, or no less than present it.
“I undoubtedly really feel very aggressive, however I don’t need to waste power on that.”
The competitor made positive he wasn’t schooled by Mookie Betts when it mattered.
Homers by Brendan Rodgers and Sean Bouchard gave Feltner a 2-0 lead, however that diminished by half at first of the third inning, which began with a Gavin Lux double, a wild pitch, a run scored and a stroll. Up got here Betts with two on and no outs. With the rely full, Feltner fired a sweeping slider that Betts chased. 4 pitches later, Justin Turner and Freddie Freeman have been retired on line drives.
“That was actually good for Ryan to complete on this be aware, on this ballpark, towards this workforce,” Black mentioned. “He had a little bit little bit of a wrestle there within the third. We’ve seen an even bigger quantity placed on the scoreboard in these kind of 30-pitch innings, and he’s had a number of of these this season, the place the large pitch-count inning bought him.”
Past that, Feltner made one mistake — Joey Gallo’s solo homer on a two-out, first-pitch fastball within the fifth. However Randal Grichuk’s two-run homer within the seventh helped Feltner clamp down a win that left his 2022 ledger at 4-9 with a 5.83 ERA.
Scott, the Rockies’ Minor League pitching coordinator when Feltner was chosen out of Ohio State within the fourth spherical of the 2018 MLB Draft, has believed all alongside Feltner may be taught on the run within the Majors.
“It hasn’t all the time been fairly, however numbers don’t point out what he’s carried out,” Scott mentioned. “He’s grown rather a lot. He’s beginning to see a number of the issues that he must do going into the offseason. A part of that overthinking is nice, as a result of he’s processing data.”
Feltner is an intriguing 2023 rotation competitor.
With Antonio Senzatela anticipated to be out till early Could due to knee surgical procedure, the Rockies head into the offseason positive of two rotation spots — veterans Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez. Lefty Austin Gomber, who misplaced his rotation spot this 12 months, however will begin Wednesday’s season finale towards the Dodgers, will battle for a job. The search will probably be on for veteran enhances. The workforce hopes to re-sign current rotation member José Ureña and must decide whether or not to pursue Chad Kuhl. And trades and free agent signings are all the time attainable.
It’ll be time for Feltner to step up and declare a spot.
“That’s my objective,” Feltner mentioned. “I strive to not do an excessive amount of regarding myself on that kind of factor. However I’m going to do what I can do within the offseason to set me up for that place.”