The resounding sigh you could hear emanating out of Citi Field Sunday afternoon? That would have been the sigh of relief from Terry Collins and the rest of the Mets high command over the 5-2/3 innings of shutout ball turned in by Dillon Gee against the Washington Nationals, which, at least for the time being, abated that dark hole that was forming at the back end of the starting rotation.
You knew matters were getting desperate beyond Matt Harvey and Jonathon Niese when the Mets announced before the game the end of the Aaron Laffey era amid renewed hopes for the much-anticipated debut of the oft-injured Shaun Marcum.
Laffey, signed as a minor league free agent over the winter, was handed a spot in the rotation when Marcum went down right before the season with an inflamed nerve in his neck, and departed for Las Vegas with a 7.20 ERA for two starts — which was only slightly worse than No. 4 starter Jeremy Hefner’s 7.07 ERA and not nearly as horrific as Gee’s 8.36 ERA.
But make no mistake, it was Gee, the one-time 21st-round draft pick who’d been such a pleasant surprise as a capable No. 3 starter before being felled by clot in an artery in his right shoulder last July, who had the Mets brass most agitated about the state of their rotation.