It was a surreal day for Cloyd that started with a 10:15 a.m. ET phone call from Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg. He then called his parents back home in Bellevue, Neb., to deliver the news.
"It was the first time I've ever heard my dad cry on the phone," Cloyd said.
Cloyd, who got the callup to pitch for an ill Cole Hamels, does not overpower hitters. With a fastball that reached 90 mph just once on Wednesday, Cloyd's success hinges on command, location and pitch movement. He relies heavily on his cutter and also throws a curveball and changeup.
Despite shaky second and third innings, Cloyd gave the Phillies a chance to win. He gave up seven hits, struck out five and walked two, but Philadelphia's offense couldn't get much going against opposing starter Matt Harvey, also a rookie, or the Mets' bullpen, which pitched three no-hit innings.
"[Cloyd] did good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He looked in control. He's gutty. He doesn't light the radar gun up, but [his] command was good. He definitely had good poise."
The third was Cloyd's most precarious inning. After giving up a single to Ike Davis, he surrendered a laser home run to Lucas Duda that gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. After issuing free passes to the next two batters, pitching coach Rich Dubee walked to the mound to calm down his newest pitcher. It worked, as Cloyd retired 11 of the last 12 Mets he faced.
"Everything kind of settled down after a little while," said Cloyd, who added it helped to have Erik Kratz catching him, as Kratz caught him in seven games for the IronPigs this season.
"It took me a bit to get used to the balls and where to start some pitches at that point. I think after that [home run] it kind of lit a fuse in me. I got a little mad at myself and just kind of slowed down a little bit. I realized it's just another game."
Cloyd was staked to a one-run lead on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly in the first, but he gave it right back on an RBI single to Harvey, who is considered a good-hitting pitcher. The tie didn't last long, as Jimmy Rollins lined an RBI double in the bottom of the inning to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead before the Mets regained it on Duda's homer.
Cloyd's start came a day after his 12-1 record and 2.35 ERA earned him the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher honors. Between his four starts at Double-A Reading and 22 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Cloyd posted a 15-1 record and a 2.26 ERA. He was also awarded the 2012 Paul Owens Award given to the best pitcher in the Phillies' Minor League system.
His promotion coincided with the Phillies shutting down Vance Worley for the rest of the season. Worley, who had struggled for a good portion of 2012, will have season-ending surgery next week to remove loose bodies from his right elbow, presenting Cloyd with a chance to audition for a spot on the 2013 Phillies. He got off to a solid start on Wednesday.
"It's an awesome feeling that they're going to let me stay up here and show what I can do," Cloyd said. "But it's obviously on me to go out there and perform every five days and let them know that I can throw up here. There are some things I still have to work on while I'm up here to continue that success."