Inside Feltner's first win since return from fractured skull

April 15th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHILADELPHIA -- The talk of Friday night was the Rockies’ 20 hits, with 11 going for extra bases, in their 12-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

But a grand-scheme accomplishment almost went overlooked in the slugfest. Rockies starter earned his first win since being hit in the head with a line drive during a home game against the Phillies on May 13 and missing four months with a fractured skull. He pitched well enough to win his previous start, when he fanned 10 Rays in six innings, but the bullpen blew the lead on that occasion.

Feltner offered a here-and-now analysis after defeating the Blue Jays.

“I executed pretty well,” said Feltner, who struck out four and gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. “I fell behind a little bit more than I would have liked, but I was able to work through some of those situations and get out of them unscathed for the most part.”

Also, righty long reliever gave a struggling bullpen a break by throwing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts on one hit and one walk while throwing 29 pitches. Lambert was efficient except for a leadoff walk in his final inning. But after that, he fanned Cavan Biggio, Alejandro Kirk and Daulton Varsho in order.

Manager Bud Black considered letting Lambert earn a four-inning save, but he decided to give Tyler Kinley some work and spare Lambert in case he was needed again in Toronto.

Lambert is a starter type, but he’s embracing the bullpen by throwing exclusively from the stretch. He said he works on the windup while playing catch, so he will be ready in case he is called upon to start, but even then the elements of pitching from the stretch are allowing him to simplify his delivery.

Lambert competed for a rotation spot in 2023, but the fact that he pitched in relief last year played into the decision to keep him in the bullpen this season. So he is embracing his opportunities.

“I enjoy it,” said Lambert, who owns a 1.80 ERA through five relief appearances. “That’s the situation I want to be thrown into for sure. I have to be as ready as possible, every day.”