LOS ANGELES – Before each of his innings, Rockies right-hander Ryan Feltner swivels his hips, once to each side. Then there are crossways soccer kicks, left then right. He takes his glove in his right hand and does a stretch over his shoulder before pantomiming a throw. Only then does he stride to the mound.
This could develop into a line dance if Feltner goes from rookie rotation member to something special. But Feltner, deep into analytics and science, finds the wiggles purposeful after sitting in the dugout. He also ices his fingers, a hand or his cheeks for performance-aiding blood flow.
Feltner and the Rockies use information and innovation to feed his hunger for winning. Feltner feasted for six innings, during which he limited a formidable lineup to four hits and escaped a major jam, as the Rockies took their third straight game over the 110-win Dodgers, 5-2, on Tuesday night.
In his 19th start in 20 Major League appearances, with trips to Triple-A Albuquerque in between, Feltner, 26, spent his rookie year harnessing his delivery, learning a new sinker and figuring out how to manipulate his slider. Rockies manager Bud Black and pitching coach Darryl Scott didn’t mind treating Feltner as a student in the Majors on the days between starts, because that student gives way to a fiery competitor.
“That guy’s in there,” Feltner said. “I used to show that a little bit. I still feel that…