It’s plainly too much to ask of poor Terry Collins to have to endure this sight one more time — one of his pitchers pacing the back of the mound pulling on his shoulder swinging his arm suggesting the unthinkable has happened yet again.

The Mets manager caught his breath then bounded from the dugout in the seventh inning at Nationals Park last night with that urgent Jimmy Cagney strut of his to see what was up with Dillon Gee.

Forgive Collins if he saw a bad ending coming. He had the trainer with him.

"I lost track of the count" the pitcher told him. "I thought I had him struck out."

That was Gee’s story and he was sticking to it after the Mets beat the Nationals 3-2 Friday night. Gee thought he had thrown strike three to the batter Ian Desmond and so he left the pitching rubber expecting the ball to be thrown around the horn.

When that didn’t happen and wanting to avoid the impression he was showing up the umpire Gee said he didn’t know what to do. Then he rolled his shoulder trying to make it look as if he were hurt sort of.

"It was a fiasco" he said. "I didn’t know what I was doing."

It was a cruel touch for Collins who has watched in despair as the greats and near-greats of his pitching staff — from Jonathon Niese to Bobby Parnell to Matt Harvey — have been struck by injury at one point or another during the season.

Gee of all people not a flamboyant hard thrower has emerged as the winningest pitcher on the team. He is now 10-9 and is the only member of the starting rotation that left spring training who has taken his turn every time through the rotation.

Beyond that on a roster that has fluctuated with injuries promotions and demotions and the emergence of promising young players Gee is one of only four players on the current 25-man roster who has been with the team for the entire season.