Hicks, who's thrown 75 innings this season after making the jump from High-A to the majors, is being used judiciously in September in anticipation of a possible postseason run, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. "We're mindful of everyone's health, but clearly with Jordan, we're a little more mindful," manager Mike Shildt said. "I don't think Jordan has any restrictions. I don't see any limitations on him moving forward." Hicks' 70 appearances lead the Cardinals and have him tied for ninth among National League relievers, while he's also reached the second-highest number of frames thrown in his professional career. Shildt has managed his young phenom carefully during the current month, with Hicks having last pitched on back-to-back days back on Sept. 3-4 and having enjoyed a six-day layoff between appearances earlier in September as well. The 22-year-old right-hander is on pace for his fewest innings in a full month this season, but the extra rest should leave him well-positioned to serve as a key cog in a postseason relief corps if the Cardinals are able to qualify for the playoffs.
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.
Hicks struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning against the Dodgers on Wednesday en route to his fifth save of the season. Regular closer Bud Norris had pitched Monday and Tuesday in the first two games of the series, notching saves in both appearances, leaving Hicks to close things out in the finale. Hicks, who has the highest average pitch velocity in baseball, sits with a 3.08 ERA and 1.20 WHIP through 64.1 innings this season. The 21-year-old should continue to get chances when Norris is unavailable.