Helsley walked two batters without allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning to record his first save of the season in a 6-5 win over the Pirates in the first game of Friday's doubleheader.
Alex Reyes got the first out of the seventh inning before handing the ball to Helsley, who loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a Paul DeJong error sandwiched between the free passes. The right-hander was then able to escape the jam by getting John Ryan Murphy to fly out to end the game. Helsley has not pitched well at all since coming off the COVID-19 list, posting an 11.81 ERA, 2.63 WHIP and 2:6 K:BB over 5.1 innings while going 1-for-3 on save chances, but he will apparently remain in the high-leverage mix for manager Mike Shildt.
Helsley (1-1) took the loss and a blown save in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader against the Brewers, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit and one walk across one-third of an inning. He struck out one.
With Giovanny Gallegos (groin) on the injured list, Helsley was called upon to try and pick up the save after the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the eighth. He walked Avisail Garcia to start the frame before bouncing back to strike out of Christian Yelich. He was pulled a batter later after allowing a game-tying double to Ryan Braun and was ultimately charged with another run on Keston Hiura's sacrifice fly. Given Helsley's inability to shut the door Monday, it would not be surprising to see manager Mike Shildt go in a different direction next time the Cardinals come across a save chance.
Helsley was identified by manager Mike Shildt as a candidate to see save opportunities the rest of the season in the wake of Giovanny Gallegos' (groin) placement on the injured list, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Granted, the right-hander hasn't exactly built a compelling case for high-leverage work recently, as Helsley has allowed at least one earned run in four straight appearances and now carries a bloated 7.71 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over six trips to the mound. However, the 26-year-old certainly demonstrated upside in his rookie 2019 campaign, when he finished with a 2-0 record and 2.95 ERA in 36.2 innings. Moreover, Helsley posted double-digit K/9s at four different minor-league seasons and boasts a fastball that's currently averaging a tick under 97 mph, so the foundational tools for a ninth-inning role would appear to be there.
Helsley, who surrendered two earned runs on two hits over an inning while recording a strikeout in the first game of a doubleheader against the Twins on Tuesday, now has a 10.80 ERA across 3.1 innings in his first three appearances since returning from the COVID-19 injured list.
Helsley had opened the season with a pair of perfect appearances before his and the Cardinals' seasons were both sidelined due to the team's coronavirus outbreak. The hard-throwing right-hander's struggles since his return underscore the notion the month-plus layoff particularly affected him; Helsley came into the season riding high off an impressive rookie campaign during which he posted a 2.95 ERA and didn't give up an earned run in more than two consecutive appearances over 36.2 innings.
Helsley allowed an earned run on a solo home run and allowed one other hit and a walk across one inning in a win over the Reds on Tuesday.
The right-handed reliever was making his first appearance since July 29 after a bout with COVID-19 and an extended build-up period on the injured list. Helsley threw 15 pitches overall and surrendered a solo blast to Joey Votto, but some rust was to be expected after such a long layoff. Given the solid workload he logged Tuesday, Helsley should be ready for a steady role moving forward.
Helsley (not injury related) was activated from the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday.
Helsley will return to the bullpen after building back up from a positive COVID-19 test in early August. He's been working through his throwing progression at the alternate site with bullpen sessions and live batting practice sessions. His last game action came July 29. Right-hander Jesus Cruz was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
Helsley (illness) is likely to come off the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
The right-hander has been progressively building back through bullpen sessions and live batting practice sessions, and he's with the Cardinals on the current road trip. Helsley last logged game action July 29, so he's likely to be eased back in with a couple of low-leverage opportunities once he's back in the fold. Helsely's activation will require a trade, release or the placement of a player on waivers.
Helsley (illness) threw a bullpen session Sunday and is with the team on its road trip that begins Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Helsley's return is apparently imminent, with Sunday's bullpen possibly the final step toward being cleared for activation. The right-hander could potentially still face live hitters before one of the Cardinals' upcoming games as yet another benchmark in his recovery from COVID-19 infection, but under any scenario, it appears Helsley will soon be available out of the bullpen again for manager Mike Shildt.
Helsley (illness) is set to throw live batting practice at some point over the weekend, the Associated Press reports.
The right-hander continues to make his way toward activation after having conquered coronavirus infection earlier in August. Helsley has been throwing regularly for several days, and the step of facing live hitters could be the final benchmark for Helsley to come off the COVID-19 injured list.
Helsley (illness) threw a side session Monday and could potentially throw live batting practice Tuesday, Richard Justice of MLB.com reports.
Helsley continues to make good progress toward an eventual return, and he could take another important step very quickly according to Justice's report. The right-hander's level of activity Tuesday will be determined by how well Helsley recovers from Monday's session, with manager Mike Shildt remarking the team will "continue to work on the timeline" with respect to the reliever's return to action.
Helsley (illness) played catch at Busch Stadium with Carlos Martinez (illness) on Friday and is set for a bullpen session Monday, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Helsley was one of a multitude of Cardinals players to test positive for COVID-19 in the team's recent outbreak, and he's currently starting the build-up process after recently gaining clearance for baseball activities. Helsley notably threw what was described as an "aggressive" long-toss session Saturday, and the right-hander could play a critical late-inning role down the stretch once he's back in the fold.
Helsley (illness) is expected to enter the second phase of the re-entry process for gaining clearance to resume baseball activities during the early portion of the team's upcoming 11-day, 12-game homestand, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The hard-throwing right-hander has reportedly dealt with a slight fever during his bout with coronavirus, but this latest report seems to imply Helsley could be on his way back to full health. The 26-year-old will have to produce two negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart in order to officially enter the second phase of the re-entry process, which includes a cardiac evaluation and an antibody blood test. Helsley made two appearances during which he fired 2.2 scoreless innings before the Cardinals' season was paused for over two weeks due to the team's COVID outbreak.
The Cardinals placed Helsley (illness) on the COVID-19 injured list Saturday.
Helsley and outfielders Austin Dean and Lane Thomas were removed from the active roster after all three were revealed to be among the several Cardinals players who recently tested positive for the coronavirus as part of a team-wide outbreak. With Helsley out indefinitely and Kwang-Hyun Kim having recently been moved to the rotation, the Cardinals' closing situation appears quite unsettled as the team resumes play this weekend. Andrew Miller recorded a save during one half of Saturday's doubleheader, but Giovanny Gallegos and Tyler Webb could also be part of the late-inning mix if manager Mike Shildt takes a committee approach to the closer's role.
Helsley has tested positive for COVID-19, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
The Cardinals had two players and one staff member test positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and Thursday, and Helsley was revealed as one of those players Friday. He's reportedly experiencing a low-grade fever as he deals with the virus. The team's weekend series against the Cubs was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak among team members, but Giovanny Gallegos could see save chances once the Cardinals return to play. Helsley will be eligible to return to the team once he produces two negative tests.
Helsley was mentioned by manager Mike Shildt on Wednesday as one of the Cardinals' top candidates to close going forward, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
Kwang-Hyun Kim opened the year as the Cardinals' closer, but the team has since decided to move him into the rotation. With Jordan Hicks opting out of the season, the ninth inning is wide open in St. Louis, and Helsley was one of a large group of candidates who are being considered for the job. Helsley has closer velocity, with his fastball averaging just shy of 98 mph, though he hasn't necessarily achieved closer-worthy results through his first 39.1 big-league innings. His 2.75 ERA is quite strong, but it's come with a 4.04 FIP and a 5.04 xFIP, as his 21.1 percent strikeout rate is rather unimpressive.
Helsley fired 1.2 scoreless innings in a loss to the Twins on Wednesday, allowing no hits or walks and recording two strikeouts.
The 26-year-old has picked up right where he left off during spring training and summer camp, as Wednesday marked his second scoreless effort in as many regular-season appearances thus far. Helsley should be a constant presence in the late innings thanks to an impressive repertoire that includes a high-90s fastball.
Helsley's chances of spending at least some time in the closer role this season seemingly have increased in the wake of Jordan Hicks' (elbow) decision to opt out of playing in the 2020 season.
Helsley was already in the running for some ninth-inning work in the early portion of the season, at minimum, with Giovanny Gallegos still stuck in Mexico for the time being. Hicks' decision may also inch Helsley closer to filling such a role in at least a part-time capacity, as it guarantees the former will no longer be a candidate for closing duties in the second half of the campaign. If Gallegos' travel issues persist into the regular season, it may be down to either Helsley or Carlos Martinez for closing duties for at least the start of the campaign, with a decision from manager Mike Shildt on how he'll handle the situation potentially not coming until much closer to Opening Day.
Helsley was the first name Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak mentioned Tuesday as a potential closing candidate to begin the season in the event Giovanny Gallegos (non-injury related) isn't ready to go for Opening Day, Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports.
With Jordan Hicks (elbow) still on the mend from Tommy John surgery and set to open the campaign on the injured list, Gallegos appeared to be the odds-on favorite to close for St. Louis coming off a brilliant 2019 season out of the bullpen and a solid spring training. Unfortunately for Gallegos, the COVID-19 pandemic has created complications with traveling from his native Mexico, as he has yet to arrive in St. Louis since summer camp began last week. Even if Gallegos makes it back to the United States before Opening Day, the Cardinals may not be comfortable using him in high-leverage spots right away, which could pave the way for the fireballing Helsley to see some save opportunities. Helsley's numbers from 2019 weren't exceptional (2.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 in 36.2 innings), but the Cardinals were encouraged by the strides he made during the spring and seemingly have him earmarked for a key role out of the bullpen in his second MLB season. In addition to Helsley, Carlos Martinez could also enter the mix for saves if Gallegos isn't available, though the Cardinals still intend to give Martinez a chance to lock down the fifth spot in the rotation during summer camp.
Helsley has been able to keep track of key individual metrics with the use of a Rapsodo pitching unit during his throwing sessions while spring training has been suspended, Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports.
A Rapsodo unit enables pitchers to track important performance data such as spin rate, shape and release point when engaging in any type of throwing, and Helsley utilized one throughout his offseason training in an effort to improve on what was a solid rookie campaign in 2019. The 25-year-old posted a 2.95 ERA across 36.2 innings over 24 appearances, and he followed it up with a 1.29 ERA in four Grapefruit League turns before spring training was suspended. During the ongoing shutdown, Helsley has utilized the Rapsodo to help him refine a changeup that he's attempting to add to a repertoire that already includes a high-90s fastball and 88 mph cutter, honing in on the ideal spin rate (1,500 revolutions per minute) and release point with the assistance of the unit. Helsley was thought to be in strong contention for save chances when play was paused, but the projected early July regular-season start date means closer Jordan Hicks (elbow) may be ready to return to game action within the first month of the campaign. Although that may ultimately relegate Helsley to a setup role for the majority of the abbreviated 2020 season, an enhanced arsenal should naturally still serve him well in that capacity.
Helsley, who posted a 1.29 ERA across four Grapefruit League appearances, was in contention for closing opportunities when spring training was suspended, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Helsley certainly didn't hurt his cause with his dominant spring performance, which follows an excellent rookie 2019 campaign. The 25-year-old right-hander boasts a 97 mph fastball that seemingly makes him a natural fit for late-inning duty. However, with the delayed start to the regular season, the amount of games last year's closer Jordan Hicks (elbow) misses should be significantly reduced, which in turn will limit the cumulative amount of save opportunities available for other relievers..
|Last 7 Games|
|10/01||@ SD||L 9-11||0||0||0||0.1||0||0||0||1|
|09/30||@ SD||W 7-4||0||0||0||1.1||1||1||0||1|
|09/26||vs MIL||L 0-3||0||0||0||0.2||0||0||0||1|
|09/25||@ MIL||W 9-1||0||0||0||1.0||0||0||0||2|
|09/22||@ KC||W 5-0||0||0||0||1.0||0||0||1||2|
|09/19||@ PIT||W 5-4||0||0||0||1.1||0||0||1||1|
|09/18||@ PIT||W 6-5||0||0||1||0.2||0||0||2||0|
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2015||R-Johnson City Cardina||40.1||11||9||0||1||1||0||35||19||33||2.02||1.297|
|2017||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||93.2||17||16||1||8||2||0||91||30||72||2.70||1.094|