After a great second-half with the Dodgers in 2019, Adam Kolarek was just as good in 2020. Due to the new three-batter minimum rule, he was forced to throw more often, and not just come in to face a lefty. He appeared in 26 games for the Dodgers in 2019, throwing only a combined 11 1⁄3 innings. Kolarek appeared in six fewer games this season but threw 7 1⁄3 more innings.
“I never thought it was going to be that big of a deal,” he said early in the season when asked about the rule change. “You can come in with two outs and get your lefty out. It just changes the strategy.”
For the season, the lefty went 3-0 with an ERA of 0.95. In 19 innings, he allowed only two runs while striking out 13 and issuing only four walks. Kolarek dominated to start the season, as he didn’t allow his first run until September 8. Through his first 12 games, he allowed zero runs and only six hits. He struck out eight and didn’t allow a single walk.
As expected, Kolarek dominated against left-handed batters, which he’s done throughout his entire career. They hit .077 off him all season and they only racked up a total of four bases. Because of the new rule, Kolarek was forced to face more right-handed hitters. He started out strong against them, but struggled over the second half as they hit .286 off him.
Unfortunately, his regular season success didn’t carry over into October. He appeared in only four games and allowed more runs than he did all season. In 3 1⁄3 innings of action, Kolarek allowed five runs on nine hits.
Stats: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 19 IP, 13 SO, 453 ERA+, 3.14 FIP, 0.789 WHIP, 3.25 SO/BB
Game of the year
In a close game against the Angels, Kolarek entered the game looking to get the save. With runners on first and third and two outs, he got Shohei Ohtani to ground out, securing the Dodgers victory.
Kolarek has two years and 111 days of service time. He has two options remaining. Expect to see the lefty back out there for the Dodgers again in 2021.