PHILADELPHIA -- Before pitching against the Phillies Tuesday night, Mets righthander Dillon Gee bought himself a brand new laptop, which he used the day before his outing to take notes on the hitters he'd face.
As the clubhouse buzzed around him, Gee settled into his chair and sifted through the information on his screen, hoping to spot tendencies that might help him when the time came. In particular, Gee looked closely for those who might attack a first pitch, and for those who were more likely to get aggressive with runners in scoring position.
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But no amount of preparation would have saved Gee Tuesday night, not when he failed to execute his plan during an 8-3 drubbing against the Phillies.
Without the benefit of his typical command, the Phillies pounded Gee for seven runs and 10 hits in just three innings, the shortest start of his career.
"Just living in the wrong part of the strike zone," Gee said shortly after he eclipsed his previous low of 3 2/3 innings which also came at Citizens Bank Park in 2011.
Against dominant Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, who allowed just three runs before leaving the game with one out in the ninth, Gee never gave the Mets a chance. The righthander left trailing 7-0, with the lowlight coming in the third, when Gee allowed three solo home runs on five pitches.
The Mets (5-3) can still win their three-game set against the Phillies (3-5) in Wednesday night's rubber match when righthander Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50 ERA) opposes Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94). However, the loss snapped the Mets' winning streak at three games.
Much of the Mets' early-season success has hinged on the starting rotation. Through their first seven games, members of the Mets' rotation combined to post a 1.87 ERA, trailing only the Dodgers (1.32) for the lowest mark in the National League. The Mets had six quality starts in that span.
But Gee (0-2), a hard-luck loser in his one previous start, found himself in a battle almost immediately. After going down in order in the first, the Phillies progressed to hitting bleeders, before finally graduating to homers.
"He was leaving a lot of pitches up," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And it was quite obvious he didn't make any pitches when he needed to."
Gee didn't give up much hard contact in the second inning, but by the end of it, the Phillies had scored four runs on six hits while sending nine batters to the plate.
The Phillies granted Gee no reprieve in the third inning. Ryan Howard had struggled so badly to begin the season that entering play Tuesday night, he had yet to collect an extra-base hit. That changed when he launched a solo shot off Gee.
On the next pitch, Michael Young made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot to right. And two batters later, Mayberry struck with a solo shot just inside the foul pole in leftfield. Gee finished the inning and never came back out.
"I figured they had probably seen enough," Gee said.
Buck continued on his torrid stretch to start the season, drilling a two-run homer off Lee in the fourth, though it hardly made a dent on a night in which Gee struggled badly.
At times Tuesday night, Collins said he watched scoreboard replays of the hits Gee surrendered. They showed that the pitcher missed some of his targets by as much as two feet.
"There's not a whole lot to say," Gee said. "Terrible night. But you've got to move past it."