LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Helsley showed exactly why people were looking forward to seeing him on the National League All-Star team.
Helsley, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, became the second pitcher in the pitch-tracking era to reach 103 miles per hour in the All-Star Game in the AL's 3-2 win Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. And he did it twice, getting a called strike and a foul ball from Minnesota’s Luis Arraez on a pair of pitches tracked at 103.0 mph. All told, Helsley hit 100.0 or higher eight times in 17 pitches.
Aroldis Chapman is the only other pitcher tracked at 103 in an All-Star Game, hitting that number four times in the 2015 game. He still holds the record for the highest velocity in the Midsummer Classic at 103.4.
“That’s pretty cool,” Helsley said. “To be in the same conversation as Aroldis Chapman, that’s pretty special. He’s obviously one of the greatest closers that’s been in the game the last 10 years. So that’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
Helsley said the 103 didn’t come from digging down extra deep, just a little extra rest.
“Nothing more than like in a regular-season game,” he said. “I had a few days off so, being in the bullpen, you get a few days off, you tend to feel a little better.”
It was an especially fun matchup between one of the hardest pitchers to hit and one of the hardest batters to strike out. Arraez got the better of the head to head with a groundball single, but Helsley’s outing was absolutely a success.
“I’m used to seeing [teammate] Jhoan Duran throw 103, but I’ve never faced a pitcher who’s thrown me 103 like [Helsley] did today,” Arraez said. “He’s very nasty. … It surprised me a lot when he threw me that fastball. I said, ‘Wow! How can he do that?’”
Arraez’s single was the only baserunner against Helsley, who struck out two in a shutout eighth inning.