Collins talks to Maddon about Arrieta starting ASG

Collins talks to Maddon about Arrieta starting ASG

NEW YORK -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Mets manager Terry Collins are good friends, and when Collins called to ask about the Cubs' pitchers and the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, the conversation focused on Jake Arrieta.

Arrieta, who is 24-3 with a 1.41 ERA in 31 starts since the 2015 All-Star break entering Saturday, is a candidate to start the July 12 game in San Diego. Collins will manage the National League team.

"It's a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle right now for him," Maddon said of Collins, who called about a week ago and talked to the Cubs manager again on Friday. "Knowing him, he'll do all the work necessary to do it right."

Arrieta started on Saturday night against the Mets, and his last start before the break will be Friday against the Pirates. The Cubs will have another pitcher who could participate in the game in lefty Jon Lester, who was named NL Pitcher of the Month on Saturday.

"Jon Lester's pitching as good as anybody right now in baseball," Maddon said of the lefty, who went 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA (seven earned runs in 44 2/3 innings pitched) and 44 strikeouts in June. "Jon Lester, to me, of all the pitchers we've seen the last month or so, I haven't seen anybody pitch better than he has."

Lester has been named to the American League All-Star team three times; Arrieta has never been selected. The only Cubs pitcher to start an All-Star Game was Claude Passeau in 1946.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.