What each Cardinal pitcher has to prove during the final stretch

Every Cardinal still has something to play for, even though the team is on the brink of elimination. Today, we'll break down what each member of the pitching staff must prove over the final weeks of the season!
Thompson faces off against the Cincinnati Reds
Thompson faces off against the Cincinnati Reds / Aaron Doster/GettyImages
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Ryan Helsley

Ryan Helsley is again the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. After a breakout 2022 season, many believed that Ryan Helsley would again be elite this year. 2023 has been disappointing, but only because he hasn't stayed healthy. When on the field, Helelsy has again been excellent. In 29 innings of work, Helsley has recorded a 2.79 ERA while generating 39 strikeouts. His walk rate is up, but it's not very concerning. Perhaps most encouraging of all is the mastery he has demonstrated to overpower hitters. Helsley has allowed just one home run this season, though it came at the absolute worst moment in San Francisco.


After missing nearly two months of action, Helsley must prove that he's still a star closer. It seems to be the case, but the sample size is small. If Helsley can finish out strong, he will not face competition for the closer's role in Spring Training. This would allow him to calmly settle into that role for the third straight season, providing stability the Cardinals desperately need.

The Cardinals have blown a league-leading 27 saves already this year, and when combined with their lackluster rotation, it becomes clear that the pitching staff is to blame for the down year. With Helsley closing games in 2024, expect that number to drop significantly. However, if he cannot remain healthy or stumbles down the stretch, all of that positivity could be called into question.