Ryan Helsley gets finger tested, weekend status TBD

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals are conducting tests on one of Ryan Helsley’s fingers on his throwing hand after he tripped mid-inning in the ninth inning after a Game 1 wildcard loss.

Helsley, an All-Star relief pitcher used mostly in closing situations on the stretch, noticed some problems with his finger three days ago in the Cardinals’ penultimate game of the regular season. He pinched his right middle finger while fielding a groundball in his final pre-postseason vote.

The Cardinals added Helsley to the 26-man postseason roster after he completed a bullpen session without setbacks on Thursday.

“You tick every box. We’ve been honest with each other all year,” Cardinals manager Oli Marmol said of Helsley’s use in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series.

According to Marmol, Helsley checked out well before coming to Friday’s Wild Card Series opener. He went into the game with a 2-0 lead and was out in the eighth inning. He covered two outs before an out in the ninth before being pulled from the game.

St. Louis led 2-1 in the ninth, although Helsley was pulled after allowing four consecutive baserunners to reach, including two via a walk. According to Marmol, when Helsley came out for a hilltop visit, he noticed something was wrong. After a practice pitch, he left the game.

“When we went out there, he said he lost a bit of feeling for his pitches,” Marmol said.

Relief pitcher Andre Pallante entered the game and Marmol looked for a double-play ground ball to end it. Phillies infielder Jean Segura sent a pitch past a diving Tommy Edman even though the ball went over his glove. The Phillies took a 3-2 lead and then added three insurance runs.

Helsley was charged with the loss and four earned runs in the inning. It was quite an unusual outing for a pitcher, who finished the 2022 regular season with 19 saves and conceded just nine earned runs over 64.2 innings.

“You hope he gets it back. He’s been super reliable all year,” said Marmol.

“He’s such a competitor. It could have broken and he would have thrown everything he’s got out there,” Pallante said. “He’s a great shooter and there’s no one we would rather have had in this situation.”

After testing, the Cardinals will decide whether Helsley is available or absent for the remainder of the Wild Card Series, which could extend through Sunday if St. Louis wins Game 2. If Helsley has to miss the time…

“We’ve had guys stepping up all year. He’s going down, someone else has to step up and do that job,” Marmol said. “It’s part of the game, no one will feel sorry for us.”

The Cardinals-Phillies Wild Card Series winner will face the Atlanta Braves in next week’s National League Division Series. The Phillies now have a 1-0 lead in the series and need just one more to progress.

“The next game is a new day,” said Marmol. “We know what is at stake. We don’t want to go home.

https://fox2now.com/sports/st-louis-cardinals/ryan-helsley-getting-finger-tested-weekend-status-tbd/ Ryan Helsley gets finger tested, weekend status TBD

Sarah Y. Kim

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