Tyler Cloyd (2-1, 3.86 ERA)
Young Tyler has two more starts to make an impression with Ruben and Charlie. As you would expect in a rookie, his five starts have been up and down, but he’s shown a lot promise. Cloyd’s last start against the Mets was his best to date, tossing eight innings of one-run ball. What he does tonight against the Nats in his final two starts could have major repercussions for the Phils free-agency plans. If the team thinks he can fill the swing-man role that Kyle Kendrick has served so well, those dollars won’t have to be spent on a starter or long-man. Then again that strategy has Kyle Kendrick in the rotation, which opens up a whole other bag of worms.
Gio Gonzalez (20-8, 2.84 ERA)
The one that got away. Gio came to the Phillies as a throw in the Jim Thome trade, and was cast off just as quickly in the ill-fated move to acquire Freddy Garcia. That clunker of a deal faded from recent memory in the wake of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee coming to town. Even though the stink of that trade has subsided, Gonzalez’s emergence as a Cy Young candidate is a constant reminder of what could have been. Better get used to it Phillies fans, because Gio is gonna be taking the hill in DC for the foreseeable future.
This will be the fourth time the Phillies face Gonzalez in 2012. Gio has largely dominated the Phightins, going 2-1 with 23 k’s. He’s always a strong lock for big strikout numbers, particularly against this roster. Most of the Phillies regulars have multiple strikeouts against the crafty lefty, with Juan Pierre the only Phillie with three hits. On the bright side, he never had to face a healthy Utley and Howard.
Making his 6th Major League start, Cloyd hasn’t gotten around the National League yet. He’ll be facing the Nats for the first time, but not the last. He’s slated to face the boys from DC twice before the end of the year. Relative anonymity should help Cloyd tonight, but he won’t have such luck his second time around.
If Cloyd can repeat his success from the last time out it should be a close game, but Gonzalez’s season long dominance is likely more than the Phillies can handle.