Saturday's start by Dillon Gee, which saw him surrender five runs in the fifth inning, has become all too familiar for the Mets.
"Today was kind of what we've seen. He was cruising. I don't know how many it is, but he's had a tough time getting out of the fifth inning," Mets manager Terry Collins said after the Mets' 6-0 loss to Atlanta. "That's not the Dillon Gee we know. The Dillon Gee we know is the guy that when he's cruising, you can just write it down that he's going to give you seven innings. For some reason, that third time through the lineup has gotten to him this year."
Gee couldn't make it past the fifth as he once again ran into problems in the middle innings in the Mets' fifth straight loss. After throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, Gee gave up six straight hits.
The starter has now gone five innings or fewer in five straight starts, the longest stretch by a Mets pitcher since Johan Santana last season. He's only topped six innings on one occasion, his season debut on April 4 against San Diego.
"I was doing well and then I got in the stretch that one inning and I couldn't locate," Gee (2-6) said. "Other than that, I don't know really what to tell you other than I wasn't locating the ball very well."
Opponents are hitting .225 against Gee during the first time through the order, but after that, they are batting a cumulative .392.
New York Mets
Saturday, his start went south as Atlanta's lineup got its third look at him. During the first few frames, he had a good sinker, aided by the strong wind that brought debris onto the field.
With two outs in the fourth inning of a scoreless game, Chris Johnson singled before opposing starter Mike Minor homered to left to make it 2-0. Atlanta then brought the top of its lineup to the plate and the next four hitters combined for two doubles and two singles, driving the score up to 5-0. Gee gave up eight hits overall.
"I'm not just doing a very good job of doing my adjustments and locating after that," Gee said. "I don't think it's anything they're doing, I just wasn't executing there."
As the Mets prepare for the June arrival of top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, it appears that Gee, Jeremy Hefner or Shaun Marcum will be booted from the rotation. Gee said he's not thinking about it, but he certainly isn't making a strong case for himself to stay in the rotation.
"I can't worry about that," Gee said. "I just got to worry about what I do out there. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough. If it is, it is. Can't worry about who's coming up or anything like that or competing with anybody except for myself."