ST. LOUIS — 5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano said it best on Twitter Friday night. Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley has become "appointment television."
In Friday night's game against the San Francisco Giants, Helsley tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, striking out four of the five batters he faced. But it wasn't just a good night. He's been this good all season.
In 10 innings pitched out of the bullpen this year for the Cardinals, Helsley has struck out 20 of the 31 batters he's faced. He has only allowed one hit, hasn't allowed any runs and hasn't walked a single batter.
This is another level of domination.
According to FanGraphs, Helsley has the second-most WAR (wins above replacement) of any reliever in baseball at 0.6. He has the highest strikeouts per nine innings of any reliever with at least two innings pitched.
Helsley can overpower you with fastballs above 100 miles per hour, and also drop curveballs in the low-80s. It's a combination that has simply not been fair to opposing hitters this season.
In fact, on Friday night the "slowest" fastball Helsley threw was 97.5 miles per hour.
This particular at-bat to Giants slugger Joc Pederson caught the attention of people on Twitter.
Helsley drops two lower-80's curveballs on Pederson, and then goes up high with the 101-mile per hour gas.
"That's a pretty nasty at-bat there. He's got a lot for ya. He's been great all season. That's another great outing there to get us to the ninth. But he's been amazing," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told the Bally's Sports Midwest cameras after the game.
Helsley has shown flashes of dominance like this in the past, but fully healthy to begin the 2022 season, the 27-year-old from Tahlequa, Oklahoma has reached another level of dominance.