Hicks did not allow a hit or walk while recording four strikeouts over one scoreless inning Tuesday against the Phillies. Hicks actually ended up facing five batters during the frame as Andrew McCutchen reached via error and Nick Williams reached on a strike-three wild pitch. The 22-year-old has been lights-out thus far in spring training with seven strikeouts, one walk and zero hits allowed across two scoreless innings. He's among the top options for saves in St. Louis.
Hicks is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday versus the Mets, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. The Cardinals deliberately delayed Hicks' first appearance of the spring as a means of conserving his bullets for the regular season. The 22-year-old is viewed as a candidate to close for the Cardinals, but manager Mike Shildt has yet to tip his hand regarding his plans for the ninth inning. Offseason pickup Andrew Miller and perhaps even -- when healthy -- Carlos Martinez (shoulder) could also be in the mix for saves early in 2019.
Hicks secured his 23rd hold in Sunday's win over the Tigers, but he's lost out in the competition for the closer's role to Carlos Martinez, Tyler Fenwick of MLB.com reports. The triple-digit fireballer worked a scoreless eighth inning in Sunday's victory, allowing a walk and recording a strikeout. It was a nice rebound from a rocky outing in Friday's series opener in which Hicks gave up two earned runs over 1.1 innings, but the rookie nevertheless appears slated for a setup role behind Martinez for what remains of the regular season. Despite that development, Hicks has been extremely impressive in 2018 after vaulting multiple minor-league levels to unexpectedly reach the majors this season, and he remains a quality asset to own in many formats.
Hicks (3-4) allowed a game-winning two-run homer to Jeimer Candelario and one other hit over 1.1 innings in a loss to the Tigers on Friday. He struck out two. Hicks is one of several candidates for the closer's role following Bud Norris' recent struggles, but he came up short in his own right Friday. The hard-throwing rookie cruised through the first four batters he faced over the eighth and ninth innings before allowing a single to Victor Reyes. Candelario then launched a 102 mph sinker -- the first pitch he saw -- 361 feet to left to send the Tigers home winners. The stumble snapped Hicks' four-appearance scoreless streak, although he was able to notch multiple strikeouts for the third time in his last five outings. Given his electric stuff, Hicks projects to continue seeing ninth-inning opportunities despite his struggles Friday.
Hicks needed only one out to secure his sixth save of the season in Tuesday's 11-8 win over the Nationals. The Cardinals began the bottom of the ninth inning with a six-run lead, yet Hicks had to be called upon with two outs and the tying run at the plate. The 21-year-old needed six pitches to retire Matt Wieters on a groundout to preserve the win. With Bud Norris struggling of late, Hicks may find his way into more regular save chances.