Terry Collins won't reveal NL All-Star Game starter with Clayton Kershaw out

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins says he thinks he knows who his starting pitcher will be for the National League in next month's All-Star Game, even though the favorite for the job, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, is headed to the disabled list.

Chicago Cubs righty and Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta might have just moved up the list.

"There is going to be a lot of consideration," Collins said before the Mets faced the Cubs on Thursday night. "There are five legitimate names that deserve to start the game. Clayton [was] one of those names. I can tell you Jake was right near the top of the list. I kind of like my guy [Noah Syndergaard] a little bit, too. [Johnny] Cueto has great numbers. [Madison] Bumgarner probably deserves a shot."

The race for starter is wide open now that Kershaw is out of the mix due to a herniated disk. Arrieta boasts a league-leading 12 wins and 2.10 ERA while Bumgarner is the only starter other than Kershaw with a sub-2.00 ERA and Cueto is second in the league with 11 wins.

"It would be great," Arrieta said after hearing what Collins said. "It would be an honor, obviously. Most important to me is my start Saturday and four days after that."

Collins will get an in-person look at Arrieta when he takes the mound against the Mets on Saturday evening. Collins then can watch his own candidate Sunday when Syndergaard pitches. Sunday's starter for the Cubs, Jon Lester, should be in the mix as well, although Collins didn't mention him by name.

Arrieta was asked whether getting the start would have special meaning considering his struggles to get established in the big leagues.

"I'm kind of over that," Arrieta said. "I've kind of addressed where I've come to this point. It's a long way from where I used to be. I do understand that but as the same time I've put most of that behind me."

Arrieta has struggled a little recently, seeing his ERA rise above 2.00 for the first time this season. Citi Field was the scene of his worst start in the second half last season when arm fatigue got the best of him and the Mets took advantage.

"Yeah, it stunk," Arrieta said. "Ran into a really hot team.

"New year, different team, different circumstances. We'll probably relive some memories that weren't very exciting but nonetheless that was the NLCS and someone has to come out ahead."

The Mets beat Arrieta and swept the Cubs in the NL Championship Series, so perhaps an All-Star start from their manager would help heal that wound. Collins knows who he wants to pitch that night; he's just not telling.

"I kind of feel like I know who's going to start the game," he said.