Cloyd will start in Halladay's place on Friday


Cloyd will start in Halladay's place on Friday

SAN FRANCISCO – The Phillies will bring up Tyler Cloyd to start in Roy Halladay’s place Friday night in Phoenix.

Cloyd, who turns 26 a week from Thursday, is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley this season. His last start was a good one. He pitched eight walk-free innings against Indianapolis and struck out 10. He allowed just four hits and a run in that game.

In addition the Cloyd, the Phils also considered lefty Adam Morgan for the assignment. On Monday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. described Cloyd as having “a hot hand.”

Cloyd, a right-hander, made six starts for the Phillies late last season. He went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA. He allowed eight homers in 33 innings.

It’s not clear how long Cloyd will be with the Phillies. Amaro has admitted that he is looking around baseball for another starter, possibly one that might have an escape clause in a minor-league contract.

Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Vince Velasquez looking for another solid outing

Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Vince Velasquez looking for another solid outing

Phillies (9-9) vs. Marlins (10-8)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

Monday off-days always feel better for a team after a successful weekend.

The Phillies had one against the Braves, sweeping them out of South Philadelphia to reach .500. Atlanta has lost six in a row.

This week, the Phils welcome in the Miami Marlins, the only division team they've yet to face.

1. A different 9-9
The Phillies had the same record through 18 games last season but got there in a different way. Last April's run was fueled by strong starting pitching and a 7-2 record in one-run games.

The 2016 Phillies were 9-9 with a minus-23 run differential. The 2017 Phillies are 9-9 with a plus-seven run differential. 

Pete Mackanin admitted Sunday that this record just feels different.

The Phillies are 6-2 in their last eight and have allowed 3.4 runs per game over that span. And that's against lineups that include Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, a red-hot Ryan Zimmerman, Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp.

The upcoming schedule is tough -- after hosting the Marlins, the Phillies have a seven-game road trip to face the Dodgers for three games and the Cubs for four.

2. Velasquez looks for two in a row
Vince Velasquez pitched much better than his line last Wednesday at Citi Field. After averaging a major-league worst 21.3 pitches per inning in his first two starts, he needed just 84 pitches to complete six innings.

He was through 5 2/3 scoreless before Bruce beat him for a three-run homer.

Velasquez just had everything working against the Mets. He threw more than twice as many sinkers (11) than he threw in his first two starts combined (five). He had three 1-2-3 innings.

It was surprising to see Velasquez strike out only two batters in a whiff-prone Mets lineup, but it was no coincidence that by getting quicker outs he was able to go deeper into a game. Velasquez has struck out two or fewer batters in just three of his 27 starts with the Phillies and one of them was the game against the Cubs last season in which he lasted just one-third of an inning. It was a rare performance for him last week.

Velasquez faced the Marlins three times last season and went 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA. He struck out 20, walked seven and allowed two homers in 18 innings. 

The only time he faced them in Miami, he allowed four runs in the first two innings before settling in to pitch four scoreless. (That was the game that ended with Giancarlo Stanton's titanic blast off Hector Neris.)

In the two other meetings, Velasquez pitched five shutout innings with 10 strikeouts and gave up just three hits and one run in seven innings two months later.

Christian Yelich has hit him the hardest, going 3 for 8 with a triple and two homers. Martin Prado is 3 for 9 with two doubles. Stanton is 0 for 6 with three strikeouts.

The Prados of the world can give Velasquez trouble because they don't swing and miss much.

3. Scouting the Fish
The Marlins are on the third and final leg of a rough road trip, travel-wise. They started out as far away from Miami as possible with a series in Seattle, then went to San Diego and wrap it up in Philly before heading home.

After losing three of the first four games of the trip, they ended the San Diego series with back-to-back wins.

Phillie-killer Marcell Ozuna is having a heckuva month, leading the majors with 21 RBIs. He's hit .306 with six homers and two doubles.

Stanton is heating up, which is bad news for the Phillies. He's 9 for 17 over his last four games with four homers, seven RBIs, two walks and one strikeout. He's obviously seeing the ball very well at the moment.

The book on Stanton, as always, is to beat him with low-and-away sliders. If the pitch starts in the middle of the plate he has a lot of trouble laying off of it. He's so big and extends his arms so far that he often thinks he can reach pitches he can't.

J.T. Realmuto has quietly become one of the game's most consistent offensive catchers. He's hit .344 in the early going.

Second baseman Dee Gordon is always a threat to swipe a bag when he reaches. He's hit .288 with a .313 OBP so far and has stolen four bases in five tries.

Yelich, who bats third, is always a tough out. 

The Marlins' lineup is deep.

4. A rare lefty starter
It seems like there are fewer left-handed starting pitchers than ever before, especially in the NL East. The Nationals have played all 19 games against right-handed starters. The Braves have faced only one, while the Phillies and Marlins have seen three.

On Tuesday, the Phillies face 31-year-old southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, who the Marlins signed away from the Orioles two offseasons ago with a five-year, $80 million contract. 

Chen disappointed in his first season in Miami in 2016, going 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 22 starts. He allowed 22 home runs, a surprisingly high mark at a ballpark as cavernous as Marlins Park.

In three starts this season, Chen is 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA. He's coming off seven no-hit (yes, no-hit) innings last Tuesday in Seattle. He gave up six runs and two homers in three innings the previous start.

The Phillies beat up on Chen the last time they saw him, scoring four runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings. 

Current Phils have hit .378 off of him with five doubles and three home runs in 81 at-bats. Switch-hitting Daniel Nava is 7 for 17 with a homer and could get a start. Cesar Hernandez is 5 for 12 with two doubles. Freddy Galvis is also 5 for 12 with a double. Maikel Franco is 4 for 12 with a double and a homer.

5. This and that
• Monday was a much-needed day off for Hector Neris, who has labored through his last two outings, needing 49 pitches to get six outs. He's allowed runs in back-to-back games after starting the year with eight scoreless appearances.

• The Phillies' 1-2-3 hitters this season have a combined .384 on-base percentage. (This includes all players who have batted in one of those three spots.)

• In 58 career games against the Phils, Ozuna has hit .310 with 18 doubles, seven homers and 29 RBIs.

• We always notice it when they do, so let's also notice when they don't. Stanton has not been a Phillie-killer throughout his career, hitting just .252 against them with 19 homers and 44 RBIs in 86 games. Compare that, for example, to his numbers against the Nats: .301, 28 homers, 66 RBIs in the same number of games.

In four of his seven seasons, Stanton has hit .217 or worse against the Phillies.

Best of MLB: Rockies snap Nationals' win streak at 7

Best of MLB: Rockies snap Nationals' win streak at 7

DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon called the location of the pitch his "where I hit balls far" zone.

He did, too -- all the way into the second deck for a big momentum swing.

Blackmon lined a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh, Colorado's lights-out bullpen threw three-plus scoreless innings and the Rockies beat Washington 8-4 on Monday night, ending the Nationals' seven-game winning streak.

Trailing 4-3, Blackmon sent a hanging slider from lefty Enny Romero (1-1) deep into the right-field stands. It was Blackmon's sixth homer of the season and followed a pinch-hit double from Pat Valaika -- his first hit of the season (see full recap).

Davidson sparks big 6th, White Sox rout Royals
CHICAGO -- Matt Davidson has made the most of his 38 at-bats so far.

He leads the White Sox in home runs with four, and his 14 RBIs ties him for tops on the team. About the only thing he hasn't done is crack the everyday lineup, which is why Chicago manager Rick Renteria was asked -- again -- after a 12-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night what the 26-year-old has to do to earn more playing time.

"He doesn't have to do anything more than what he's doing right now," Renteria said. "Fortunately for us, every time he gets in there, he seems to do something pretty impactful for us as a team."

Davidson had two hits and three RBIs in an eight-run sixth, Chicago's highest-scoring inning in five years. The White Sox DH set a career high with three hits and tied his single-game best with four RBIs (see full recap).

Cubs keep on rolling by crushing Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Jason Heyward is getting tired of talking about his rebuilt swing. Considering what the Chicago Cubs center fielder is doing at the plate these days, the conversation will soon flip from his new-look swing to the results.

Heyward hit his third home run in four days, a sizzling line drive to right-center off Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl in the first inning to set the tone in a lopsided 14-3 victory for the suddenly hot Cubs on Monday night. Heyward added an RBI on a groundout during Chicago's five-run second inning as the defending World Series champions won for the fifth time in six games.

A year after he hit just .230 while managing just seven home runs and 49 RBIs, Heyward is at .294 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 18 games so far in 2017 (see full recap).

Orioles hit 3 HRs off Archer in win over Rays
BALTIMORE -- All the elements that usually make a baseball game unremarkable were right there: miserable weather, a tiny crowd and a week night in April.

Because the Baltimore Orioles excelled in such conditions, manager Buck Showalter relished his team's 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning after Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop went deep in the sixth, rallying Baltimore at cold, damp Camden Yards.

Coming off an intense three-game series against the Red Sox that drew huge crowds to the same stadium, the Orioles performed before 11,142 hearty fans, most of whom didn't make a whole lot of noise until Kim and Schoop got Baltimore's offense going (see full recap).