Rule changes are always a little bit of a pain in their first season of implementation. The Dodgers are certainly finding that to be true with Major League Baseball’s 3-batter minimum rule in place for relief pitchers in 2020.
Adam Kolarek made a name for himself for his work against lefties as a Dodger last year.
He weighs in on the new three-batter minimum rule, how he's preparing for it, why he's looking forward to it, its pros and cons and what he's curious to see. https://t.co/03Y4FNCrS8
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) February 21, 2020
There used to be a name for left-handed pitchers like Adam Kolarek. They called them LOOGY’s before the rule change, short for left-handed one-out guy. Basically, their only purpose before this rule change was to come in and get one guy out, usually a left-handed hitter. All of that is quickly going away.
Kolarek was acquired in 2019 for the purpose of neutralizing a few power-hitting left-handed hitters that the Dodgers could face in the playoffs. Guys like Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Scwarber all represented a threat to the National League pennant, and Kolarek was a solution.
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Instead, Kolarek was used to face just three batters in the 2019 playoffs. Well, he faced the same batter three different times, to be exact. He faced Juan Soto on three occasions and did his job every single time. Now, he’s got to figure out how to get everyone out.
I think, if anything, you’re just looking for the opportunity to show yourself and prove yourself. For me, when I approach facing a righty, being a groundball pitcher, I’m not trying to strike him out. If it happens, it happens. But I have to accept that sometimes ground balls are going to get hit hard…but if I execute my pitch, worse case scenario, it should just be a groundball single.
Kolarek in his career has held left-handed hitters to a .199 batting average in parts of three seasons. Right-handed hitters have hit nearly 100 points higher. Fortunately, Kolarek will get to work on facing them more since he is expecting it this season with the Dodgers.
Now it’s kind of, ‘How do I attack right-handed hitters?’ … We’re going to give him every opportunity to face right-hand hitters to kind of see how that plays out, but I have every confidence that Adam will figure some things out and be effective against the right-hand hitter. – Dave Roberts
Like it or not, the new rule is here and players will have to adjust quickly. Gone are the days of a left-handed pitcher who specializes in facing left-handed hitters. The pace of play police are cracking down, and it’s all about adjustments heading into the 2020 season.