The Cardinals had a rough go of things on Monday night at Busch Stadium, falling to the Braves by a score of 8-4 as starter Jake Woodford allowed three home runs to Atlanta batters in the first two innings.
Another St. Louis pitcher found trouble in the seventh inning when Jordan Hicks got roughed up for a couple of runs to put a damper on the Cardinals’ hopes for a comeback. Unlike in his troubles over the weekend against the Blue Jays, Hicks had consistency in the strike zone and didn’t walk any hitters.
The problem was his effectiveness within the zone, as Hicks permitted several hard-hit balls in his appearance. While Hicks was enthused by the unbalanced swings he could produce from hitters with his off-speed pitches, the sinker is supposed to be his bread-and-butter–and it wasn’t cooperating on Monday.
Jordan Hicks eased into last night's outing—and it cost him. He and Oli Marmol both stressed how ramping up to be more ready for the *first* batter of an outing is a priority.
— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) April 4, 2023
Hicks took some time easing into his standard triple-digit velocity with the sinker and talked about the necessity of locating that pitch lower in the zone.
Cardinals’ manager Oli Marmol expressed his desire to see Hicks get up for his outings from the first batter rather than waiting to have a runner reach base against him before he ramps up the intensity.
Marmol mentioned that this has been an area of emphasis for the Cardinals with Hicks for some time, but it still seems to be a work in progress for the 26-year-old reliever.