SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies awoke here with a headache. After two humiliating losses to Miami, they flew across the country with the red-hot Giants awaiting the start of a week-long western road trip. They face debilitating news about their $20 million erstwhile ace.
In the immediate, the Phillies must decide on a replacement for Roy Halladay, who is bound for the disabled list with shoulder trouble. His next start is scheduled for Friday in Arizona.
The Phillies are down to their seventh starter just six weeks into the season. The team's ERA is 4.51, which ranks 14th in the 15-team National League. The offense is mired in mediocrity; the pitching is even worse.
Tyler Cloyd and Adam Morgan are the realistic options for a promotion.
Cloyd, 25, has pitched well after a brutal beginning to 2013 at triple-A Lehigh Valley. He allowed one run in eight innings while striking out 10 during his last start, Friday against Indianapolis. He has one walk in his last 15 innings after issuing 11 in his first 20 innings.
The Phillies have a known quantity in Cloyd. He is not overpowering. He must have pinpoint control for success. They bypassed him two weeks ago when John Lannan was injured. Maybe his recent string will help his cause, or maybe that decision was an indictment of how the organization views the righthander.
That could make Morgan the choice. The 23-year-old lefty pitched to rave reviews during spring training. He posted a 2.52 ERA in his first four starts at triple A. His last two (eight runs in 10 innings) have not been quite as sharp. He is synced to pitch Friday; his start Sunday lasted four innings and 111 pitches.
Morgan is not on the 40-man roster, which has an open spot after Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment last week.
In any case, the first six weeks of baseball were close to an abject failure. The Phillies are 5-15 when their cadre of pitchers making $67.5 million in 2013 start a game. They rank near the bottom in many offensive and pitching categories. They have the same record — 14-18 — as a season ago, and that was done without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Their minus-34 run differential is the franchise's worst through 32 games since 1997 (-57). That team finished 68-94.
On Monday, they awoke and stared at a future without Halladay. The grim thought: His replacement cannot be much worse.