(CBS) With Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw headed to the disabled list with a back problem, the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game is up in the air.

One player who has a good case to take the hill is Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, and Mets manager Terry Collins, who will manage the NL, acknowledged as much Thursday.

READ MORE: Chicago Public Library Posts Archive Of Speeches By Mayor Harold Washington, Born 99 Years Ago Thursday

“Jake Arrieta is right near the top of the list,” Collins told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers on Thursday ahead of the Cubs-Mets game in New York.

Of course, there’s a subplot here: Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard is another deserving candidate, so he may have the inside track with his own manager making the decision.

“I kind of know who’s going to start,” Collins said without revealing anything more, according to ESPN.

What could help Arrieta’s case is that Syndergaard has been pitching with a bone spur in his throwing elbow, and the Mets may decide to take a cautious approach here.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cooler Than Normal

Also in the mix could be Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez and Cubs left-hander Jon Lester.

Statistically, they all have similar numbers. Arrieta is 12-2 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 103 innings. Syndergaard is 8-3 with a 2.49 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 94 innings. Syndergaard had a poor start Monday, allowing five earned runs in three innings. His ERA had been 2.08 before that.

Bumgarner is 8-4 with a 1.99 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings. Fernandez is 10-3 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 138 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings. Lester is 9-3 with a 2.03 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 106 1/3 innings.

While Arrieta won the NL Cy Young last year, he didn’t make the All-Star team and never has. He won the Cy Young largely because of a historic stretch that took place in the second half of the season.

MORE NEWS: 2 Dogs Killed, 7 People Left Homeless After Waukegan Fire

As it sits now, Arrieta’s final scheduled start before the All-Star Game on July 12 is next Thursday, July 7, so he’d be well-rested for it.