Tyler Cloyd, named the International League's best pitcher a day ago, will make his major-league debut Wednesday only because of an illness to Cole Hamels.
The Phillies announced Hamels will not start as scheduled because of a gastrointestinal illness. Replacing him is Cloyd, who was slated to pitch at triple-A Lehigh Valley. Instead, he will face the New York Mets.
Cloyd, 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA, has become a cause celebre for a fan base craving any sort of drama in the final weeks of a lost season. While posting gaudy numbers in the minors, his rise has been met with skepticism by many scouts because Cloyd rarely throws harder than 90 m.p.h.
Cloyd's strikeout numbers have dropped considerably in 2012 even as his success multiplies. That suggests a great deal of luck. The theory will be tested at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.
An 18th-round pick in 2008, Cloyd was hardly on the radar screen entering the season. The 25-year-old righty was supposed to pitch for double-A Reading but started opening day for Lehigh Valley because of a last-minute suspension to another pitcher.
All he did was toss six no-hit innings with eight strikeouts.
It was the beginning of a charmed season for Cloyd, who finally has a chance to prove his doubters wrong.
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