Mets manager Terry Collins keeps an eye on the game...

Mets manager Terry Collins keeps an eye on the game from the dugout. (July 18, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

PHILADELPHIA -- After weeks of denial, Terry Collins ultimately flipped the calendar to 2012 before the Mets' 10-0 loss to the Phillies Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. For really the first time, the manager admitted the Mets have reached the point where they must start mapping out a plan for next season, regardless of its effect on this year's record.

"Right now, the way things are going, I'll try to get everybody some playing time," Collins said. "But we need to start taking a look at down the road and what our options are going to be."

Collins specifically was talking about moving Lucas Duda from first base to rightfield, where he will start Tuesday night against the Phillies and likely stay there for most of the remaining 36 games. That project began Monday night in the fourth inning, when Duda was switched to right and Nick Evans was inserted at first base.

But that reshuffling had little effect on the final result as Cliff Lee (14-7) held the Mets to three hits -- all singles -- during his seven scoreless innings. Afterward, the Mets seemed a bit shell-shocked after their fourth straight loss and 16th in 21 games.

David Wright, who showed his frustration by unloading on plate umpire Mike DiMuro after his sixth-inning strikeout, met with Collins in the manager's office following the game.

"We're in a rut, and we're playing pretty bad baseball right now, so we've got to find a way to figure some things out and try to play better," Wright said. "We just can't allow ourselves right now to kind of just play out the season.

"Obviously, it's a bad situation to begin with and the last thing you want to do is just go out there and play the games for the sake of playing the games," Wright said. "Hopefully, people realize that there's a lot on the line going into next year."

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Angel Pagan was pulled in the fifth inning because of what the Mets described as a stomach virus and he was lucky to sit out the remainder of this one.

Dillon Gee (11-5) allowed seven hits and eight runs in 32/3 innings as his ERA jumped from 3.92 to 4.37. He also allowed six walks and served up home runs to John Mayberry Jr. and Hunter Pence.

"Tonight was just terrible," Gee said. "It was probably the worst outing I've ever had."

Before the game, Collins also floated the thought of using Mike Pelfrey to fill the closer's void, a more radical concept that he even said is very unlikely to happen. Collins chatted about it recently with pitching coach Dan Warthen and later asked Pelfrey one day as the two chatted in the outfield. Still, no one seemed to be taking Collins very seriously -- not even the manager himself.

"It's one thing to say," Collins said. "It's another thing to replace 200 innings, which he's going to give you."

Just the fact that the Mets have discussed -- albeit briefly -- switching Pelfrey to closer shows how desperate they are to find a permanent replacement for Francisco Rodriguez. Neither Collins nor Sandy Alderson has much faith in Bobby Parnell or Pedro Beato, and Pelfrey doesn't seem like a good fit, either.

"I just think you look at all options, you know?" Pelfrey said. "You try to explore all options when you're constructing a team for next year or the future. I know Beato was brought up the other day about starting. I don't think there was anything to it."

Pelfrey has made two relief appearances in the past two seasons. He picked up the save in the 20-inning victory over the Cardinals on April 17, 2010, and entered last Tuesday's game against the Padres in the eighth inning -- but only for some between-start work.

"I prefer to start, obviously," Pelfrey said. "But if they want me to do it, I would do it. It would be fun if it ultimately came to that, but I don't think it's going to."