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Kershaw's injury affects Collins' ASG plan

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Clayton Kershaw's placement on the disabled list on Thursday has clouded what might once have been an easy decision for Mets manager Terry Collins. As skipper of the National League All-Star team next month in San Diego, Collins has the right to select the starting pitcher. Kershaw, the NL leader in ERA and Wins Above Replacement, would have been an obvious choice.

But with the Dodgers putting Kershaw on the DL with a back injury, Collins must go a different route. He'll see two candidates in person this weekend in Cubs starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and he knows all about Giants pitchers Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, as well.

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NEW YORK -- Clayton Kershaw's placement on the disabled list on Thursday has clouded what might once have been an easy decision for Mets manager Terry Collins. As skipper of the National League All-Star team next month in San Diego, Collins has the right to select the starting pitcher. Kershaw, the NL leader in ERA and Wins Above Replacement, would have been an obvious choice.

But with the Dodgers putting Kershaw on the DL with a back injury, Collins must go a different route. He'll see two candidates in person this weekend in Cubs starters Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and he knows all about Giants pitchers Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, as well.

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"There are five, probably, really, really legitimate names who deserve to start the game," Collins said. "Clayton was one of those names. I can tell you Jake is right near the top of the list. I kind of like my guy a little bit, too. Cueto's got great numbers. Bumgarner, he probably deserves a spot. So we've got all those names down."

Collins' "guy" is right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who ranks sixth in the NL in strikeouts, eighth in ERA and second in pitcher WAR, according to Fangraphs. Another realistic candidate is Miami's Jose Fernandez, who is third in strikeouts and fifth in ERA. It might be toughest to quibble with the candidacy of Bumgarner, who trails only Kershaw in ERA, and only Washington's Max Scherzer, Kershaw and Fernandez in strikeouts.

With the exception of Kershaw's, those numbers will change over the next 10 days, with every candidate receiving at least one more start. But even without all precincts reporting, Collins knows which way he is leaning.

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

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets