Gant, once considered a candidate to open the season in the starting rotation, is now much likelier to start 2020 in a relief role, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Back when Opening Day still lined up to unfold March 26, Gant appeared to have at least a decent chance of securing one of two projected rotation vacancies. However, the subsequent delay brought about by the current health crisis has bought Miles Mikolas (forearm) substantial recovery time, very likely eliminating one of those spots. Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez appeared on track to secure the other when spring training was suspended, leaving Gant with a much higher likelihood of starting the 2020 campaign out of the bullpen. The right-hander operated exclusively in that capacity during a 2019 season that saw him post a 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 18 holds across 64 appearances.
Gant was credited with his second victory of the spring in a Grapefruit League win over the Marlins on Thursday, firing two scoreless innings during which he allowed two hits and two walks while recording a strikeout.
The right-hander has also had opportunities as a starter to make his case for an open rotation spot to start the regular season, but he tossed in Grapefruit League in middle relief Thursday. Gant is a lock for the Opening Day roster and has generated an impressive 2.53 ERA and .167 BAA across 10.2 innings over four appearances (two starts) during exhibition play; however, whether he opens the 2020 campaign as a starter or reliever will likely hinge on several factors, including whether the extra recovery time Miles Mikolas (forearm) will benefit from due to the delayed start of the regular season will allow the latter to be ready for Opening Day.
Gant started Saturday's Grapefruit League win over the Astros and fired four scoreless innings during which he allowed a hit and two walks while recording three strikeouts.
Gant threw 52 pitches (31 strikes) overall during his appearance, which served to strengthen his case for one of two open spots in the Cardinals' rotation. The veteran right-hander has 11 starts on his major-league resume and is stretching out nicely as spring unfolds, keeping him firmly in contention in a job battle that may not be decided until just prior to the start of the regular season.
Gant started Monday's 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Marlins and allowed an unearned run and a walk over two scoreless innings. He struck out two.
The versatile right-hander, who's in contention for one of the two season-opening vacancies in the starting rotation, made an impressive case for his candidacy with the efficient outing. Gant's one hiccup was a leadoff walk to Jonathan Villar in the first, one that came back to bite him when the Marlins veteran eventually scored on an error by Lane Thomas. Otherwise, Gant mostly breezed through his outing and fired a total of 33 pitches. The 27-year-old will look to build on Monday's performance in his next Grapefruit League turn, likely to come at some point toward the end of the week or over the weekend.
Gant is one of several pitchers on the Cardinals' staff that could have an opportunity to temporarily take Miles Mikolas' (forearm) spot in the rotation, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
The veteran right-hander has been a valuable component of the team's pitching arsenal over the last two seasons, generating sub-4.00 ERAs in each campaign and logging 19 starts among his 90 appearances over that span. Given his body of work, Gant undoubtedly has the trust of manager Mike Shildt to fill in for a stint in the starting rotation while Mikolas recovers. However, spring performances are poised to be the final determinant of who slides into the role, with Gant facing competition from a slew of other arms that includes Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Kwang-Hyun Kim.
Gant and the Cardinals avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.3 million deal Friday, freelance baseball writer Robert Murray reports.
Gant converted fully to relief in 2019 and had an effective season. He finished with three saves and a 3.66 ERA in 66.1 innings, though his 12.6 percent walk rate is a potential cause for concern going forward, especially as his 22.3 percent strikeout rate isn't particularly impressive.
Gant is not on the roster for the National League Division Series against the Braves.
The versatile reliever recorded an 11-1 record with three saves this season but saw his ERA rise to 3.66 after several shaky outings in September. Gant was replaced by Daniel Ponce de Leon in the bullpen for the NLDS.
Gant (11-1) was credited with the victory in a win over the Cubs on Saturday, retiring the only batter he faced on two pitches to close out the eighth inning.
Gant quickly induced an inning-ending groundout from Nicholas Castellanos to keep the Cardinals' deficit at 8-7 entering the ninth. He subsequently became the pitcher of record courtesy of matching solo home runs from Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong, as well as Carlos Martinez's effective work in the home half of the final frame. Gant had allowed four earned runs over just one-third of an inning across his previous two appearances, so Saturday's brief outing was both encouraging and fruitful for his fantasy managers.
Gant (10-1) was charged with the loss in a defeat at the hands of the Brewers on Sunday, allowing three earned runs on three walks over one-third of an inning while recording one strikeout.
The right-hander's season-long undefeated run came to a close courtesy of a Ryan Braun home run off Junior Fernandez that plated the three batters Gant had put on via free passes. It was a rare 2019 stumble for the ultra-reliable reliever, who's seen multiple earned runs go on his ledger in two of his last four appearances.
Gant could be a candidate for the closer's role to open the 2020 season if Carlos Martinez is able to secure a spot in the starting rotation during spring training, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Jordan Hicks (elbow) isn't expected back until midseason at the earliest, and Martinez continues to voice his desire for a shot at re-entering the starting rotation next year despite his solid track record as a closer. Therefore, manager Mike Shildt could have a ninth-inning vacancy on his hands to open the 2020 campaign, and Gant, who's forged a perfect 10-0 mark and has recorded three saves in six opportunities this season, shapes up as a candidate for the job. With southpaw Andrew Miller also on hand, the possibility of a closing platoon looms if Martinez does return to starting. Giovanny Gallegos has forced his way into the conversation as well.
Gant (10-0) earned the win after delivering a scoreless ninth inning with one strikeout and two walks in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Reds.
Gant was able to reach double-digits in the win column Saturday as the Cardinals rallied for two runs in the ninth to walk off the Reds. The 27-year-old is enjoying his first full season as a reliever with a 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 51:26 K:BB through 61.2 innings.
Gant (9-0) was credited with the victory in a win over the Brewers on Monday, firing 2.1 scoreless innings in which he allowed no hits, issued a walk and recorded three strikeouts.
Gant fired 22 of 35 pitches for strikes in another efficient outing, getting some valuable outs after starter Adam Wainwright couldn't finish the fourth inning. Gant bounced back nicely from a hiccup in his last appearance Friday against the Rockies, when he surrendered three runs over an inning. Monday's scoreless effort brought his ERA back under 3.00 (2.97) while also affording him his second win of August.
Gant (8-0) was credited with the win in a victory over the Pirates on Sunday, firing a scoreless eighth inning during which he allowed a hit and recorded a strikeout.
Gant's strong season continued in efficient fashion Sunday, with the right-hander needing just eight pitches, six of which found the strike zone, to notch his three outs. The scoreless effort was a particularly welcome sight, as Gant had allowed a run in each of his prior four appearances. The 27-year-old also has 14 holds and three saves to go along with his unblemished win-loss record.
Gant garnered his eighth hold in a win over the Pirates on Thursday, firing a perfect seventh inning in which he recorded two strikeouts.
The right-hander was exceedingly sharp Thursday, with Gant finding the strike zone on each of the scant eight pitches he needed to get his three outs. He's notched a hold in each of his last three appearances and despite occasional hiccups, his 2.55 ERA and 0.99 WHIP are both comfortably below his career 3.67 and 1.30 figures in those categories.
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.
Gant (7-0) fired a perfect 11th inning to earn the win over the Marlins on Wednesday, recording one strikeout.
Gant easily mowed down Austin Dean, Miguel Rojas and the pinch-hitting Jordan Yamamoto on just 10 pitches in the top of the 11th, and he became the pitcher of record when Paul Goldschmidt slugged a game-winning home run in the home half of the frame. The right-hander has now put together five scoreless innings across his last three appearances, following an atypical hiccup when he allowed three earned runs over two trips to the mound earlier in June.
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