Gant ranks 13th among relievers in opponents' wOBA (min. 100 batters faced) through the first half of the season. Gant slots in ahead of the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Ken Giles on this particular leaderboard, and directly behind Liam Hendriks and Emilio Pagan. The right-hander has boosted his K-rate by four percentage points to 23.5 percent, while lowering his HR/9 to 0.60 -- no easy task in today's environment. However, it does not appear as though he will see regular save chances so long as Carlos Martinez is healthy and active. Gant was struck on the leg by a line drive July 4 but ended up pitching three days later in the Cardinals' final game before the All-Star break.
Gant was pulled from Thursday's game against the Mariners after getting hit in the leg by a line drive, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports. Gant was struck by a ball off the bat of Mallex Smith and forced to leave the game, but he'd already pitched for an inning, so it's possible he was about to be lifted regardless of the injury. The severity of the issue is not yet clear.
Carlos Martinez, not Gant, is expected to take over "most of the closer duties" for the Cardinals, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Gant became a popular target last weekend after president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, when asked if he thought Gant would close in the absence of Jordan Hicks, responded, "Oh, I would think so, yeah. He's finished games for us in the past and we have a lot of confidence in him." However, it seems Mozeliak may have just been going along with the radio host's suggestion, or maybe manager Mike Shildt simply has a different preference. Gant has the slight K-BB% edge this season, but Martinez had success as the primary closer last September, going 5-for-5 in save chances during the final month of 2018.
Gant should fill the closer role in St. Louis for the foreseeable future after Jordan Hicks was diagnosed with a torn UCL, Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports. Gant appeared to be in line for a temporary role after Hicks was diagnosed with triceps tendinitis, but an MRI revealed a more serious injury Monday, likely ruling Hicks out for the season. Gant's 2.40 ERA looks like closer material, though his 24.2 percent strikeout rate is hardly dominant. Carlos Martinez and Andrew Miller loom as alternatives should Gant slip up.
General manager John Mozeliak said Sunday on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Gant is likely to fill in at closer while Jordan Hicks nurses a triceps injury. Hicks is currently receiving a couple days of rest due to right triceps tendinitis, but he'll be re-evaluated Sunday to determine his status for the upcoming week. Gant is 3-for-5 in save opportunities and has 10 holds with a 1.54 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 37:10 K:BB over 41 innings this season, so he would be a valuable fantasy asset should Hicks require a more significant absence.