PHOENIX — The decision was made long before Tyler Cloyd allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings and pitched well enough to win Friday's 3-2 Phillies loss. Reliever Justin De Fratus was put on a cross-country flight to Arizona before the game started.
"They told me no matter what happened they were going to send me down," Cloyd said.
The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until May 21. They can go two turns through the rotation without it because of two off days next week.
If nothing, Cloyd made a fine impression to be that guy again later. He threw 92 pitches and relied on a heavy diet of fastballs; 75 were either four-seam fastballs or cutters. The hardest pitch he threw was 89 m.p.h.
Cloyd was most pleased with his cutter. He threw 31 of his 38 cutters for strikes, according to PITCHf/x data. They were quality strikes, too, and that is Cloyd's recipe for success.
Arizona did not have a hit from the second to sixth innings.
"It was a great game for me," Cloyd said. "I showed I can stay down in the zone and pitch at this level. Obviously I have to continue it."
The Phillies chose Cloyd over Adam Morgan, who is regarded as the prospect with a higher ceiling. But Morgan is just 23 with little experience above single A and Cloyd tasted the majors for six starts last September. Morgan started Friday for triple-A Lehigh Valley and compounded his recent scuffles by allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings.
He will be in the conversation when the fifth starter decision arises in 10 days. John Lannan, out since April 18 with a left knee injury, is not expected back until late May at the earliest. A more realistic return is sometime in June.
The Phillies opted for an extra arm rather than bench bat. De Fratus, who pitched to a 1.80 ERA in 13 games at Lehigh Valley, was recalled. De Fratus tinkered with a mechanical adjustment during a disappointing spring and the results emerged in the minors.
As for Cloyd, his next outing will come with the IronPigs.
"He gave us a good chance," Charlie Manuel said. "He pitched real good and he gave us a chance."