PHOENIX - The decision was made long before Tyler Cloyd allowed just 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 prior to the start of the game.
"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 one because of two off days next week.
If nothing else, Cloyd made his case 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 the 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. Cloyd tasted the majors for six starts last September. Morgan started Friday for triple-A Lehigh Valley and compounded his recent struggles by allowing five runs in 32/3 innings. His ERA is 4.70.
Like Cloyd, he will be discussed 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 a bench bat. De Fratus, who pitched to a 1.80 ERA in 13 games at Lehigh Valley, was recalled. The 25-year-old believes it is time to secure a permanent job in the majors.
"I am approaching it that way," De Fratus said. "By no means am I entitled to anything. All I can ask for is a shot. I'm confident enough with the limited experience I have had that I can come here and do a good job and make a case for myself to stick."
As for Cloyd, his next outing will come with the IronPigs.
"He gave us a good chance," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He pitched real good and he gave us a chance."
The Phillies' last 14 home runs were solo shots entering Saturday. Domonic Brown's three-run homer on April 27 was the last multi-run homer. . . . Jimmy Rollins' leadoff home run Friday was the 44th of his career, which tied him with Brady Anderson for fourth all-time.