PHOENIX - A day before he made his major league start since September, Tyler Cloyd made himself comfortable in a major league clubhouse for the first time since spring training.
With Roy Halladay sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury and fellow starter John Lannan also on the disabled list with a knee injury, Cloyd was asked whether his start last night could serve as an audition to stick around.
"Every opportunity is an opportunity for you to stick," Cloyd said on Thursday. "But for me, I'm just going out there and pitching the best to my ability, giving them a chance to win and giving them a quality start every five days."
After pitching superbly against the Diamondbacks, holding the first-place team to two runs on two hits in 6 1/3 innings, Cloyd quickly learned of his fate.
The Phils optioned Cloyd back to Triple A Lehigh Valley after the game. Righthanded reliever Justin De Fratus was recalled; he'll join the team today at Chase Field.
With the way the Phillies schedule plays out in the next 10 days, Cloyd's services are simply not needed.
After the Phils complete their seven-game road trip in Phoenix tomorrow, they are off Monday. Then they host the Cleveland Indians for two games at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.
And then they're off again on Thursday. With two off-days in the span of 4 days, the Phillies don't need a fifth starter again until May 21.
"I just have to go down there and keep going," Cloyd said. "I have to keep myself in the position to come back up. … I might as well go down there and keep pitching well and hopefully the next opportunity comes about and I come back up and keep going."
Cliff Lee (today) and Kyle Kendrick (tomorrow) are on tap to start the final two games of the four-game series in Phoenix.
The Phillies made a roster move following Thursday night's game in order to create a spot for Cloyd: The team optioned lefthanded reliever Joe Savery to Triple A Lehigh Valley.
It was Savery's second brief stay in the big leagues in the last month. Savery, who was called up when Halladay went on the DL, was also recalled and optioned within 5 days when Lannan went on the DL and Pettibone was called up.
The move wasn't a surprise, but the Phils could have just as easily sent one of their other relievers down. Like Jeremy Horst.
After having an unlucky month of April, getting victimized by his share of bloopers, bleeders and infield singles, Horst has struggled in May. He walked two batters in 1 1/3 innings on Thursday and has issued four walks in his last three appearances.
"There have been a couple situations where I've come in and tried to be a little too fine," Horst said. "But it's just something that's going on right now. We're going to fix it. Sometimes you're trying to too hard, and the more you try, the further away you get."
Opponents are hitting .316 with a .932 OPS against Horst in five games this month. In 14 games this season, they're hitting .311 with a .883 OPS.
"He's not really in good sync right now," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
In case you didn't stay awake long enough for the ending, the Phillies lost another game that Cole Hamels started on Thursday night. When the Diamondbacks eked by with a 2-1 victory, the Phils fell to an astounding 1-7 in games Hamels has started this season.
While he struggled his in first two starts of the season, Hamels has a 2.41 ERA in his last six starts.
The problem is he hasn't received much run support. When Hamels has been in the game, the Phils have scored 16 runs in 51 2/3 innings.
The Phils scored once in his six innings Thursday. Hamels has a run support average (per start) of 2.88 runs this season, which ranks 14 in the National League.
But among the NL's elite pitchers, he's not alone: Stephen Strasburg (2.29), Clayton Kershaw (2.38) and Madison Bumgarner (2.71).
Hamels avoided complaining about his offense following the latest lame effort from the Phils' bats and instead pointed the finger at himself.
"For me it's about going out and executing pitches, stopping the walks," Hamels said. "If that's where I really need to work, and if it's going to make me a more effective pitcher, than that's what I have to focus on . . . I have to correct what I can correct and that's what's going to allow me to be a better pitcher and go help the team so we can get some wins."
Hamels leads the NL with 22 walks. Only three major league starters have walked more batters this season.