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Dodgers at Tigers, 10:08 a.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
(Zack Greinke, P)

By Jon Weisman

Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch his last game before the All-Star Break on Thursday. But Kershaw might not start the Dodgers’ first game after the All-Star Break on July 18, eight days later.

Don Mattingly told reporters in Detroit today that if Kershaw pitches two innings in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, that he would not open the Dodgers’ post-break schedule in St. Louis.

Whether that will happen remains to be seen. In his three previous All-Star Games, Kershaw has thrown exactly one shutout inning. In 2011 and 2012, he started the Dodgers’ first game after the break, but not last year.

  • July 16, 2013: one inning, three batters, 14 pitches. Next start: Sunday, July 21 (seven innings).
  • July 10, 2012: one inning, six batters, 27 pitches. Next start: Friday, July 13 (six innings).
  • July 11, 2011: one inning, three batters, eight pitches. Next start: Friday, July 15 (seven innings).

Kershaw is a candidate to start this year’s All-Star Game, but as was the case 12 months ago when Matt Harvey got the start in New York, the manager might opt to go with a favorite son. In this case, it would be National League and St. Louis manager Mike Matheny picking his own ace, Adam Wainwright, the only starting pitcher around whose ERA is lower than Kershaw’s.

Zack Greinke, who figures to pitch only one inning in Minnesota on Tuesday and who is otherwise off for eight days after today’s start in Detroit, at this point seems as likely as anyone to open the Dodgers’ second half. Hyun-Jin Ryu would be a candidate on four days’ rest after his start Sunday against San Diego. Dan Haren, pitching Friday against San Diego, would be on six days’ rest.

Mattingly said he might have a conversation with Matheny about how Kershaw and Greinke are used in the All-Star Game.

Josh Beckett, meanwhile, is eligible to come off the disabled list July 22. He might not hit that date, however, or even July 31 (which happens to be the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, though general manager Ned Colletti told Bill Shaikin of the Times today that he is “hopeful” to have Beckett back by the end of the month.

Post-break, the Dodgers will need a fifth starter on July 22. After that, the Dodgers have two off days bookending a five-day period July 24-28, so while they rarely skip the fifth starter in their rotation, preferring to give their starting pitchers an extra day off, that could be done rather easily in this case.

That being said, the Dodgers play on 20 consecutive days from July 29-August 17 — the last 14 of those against playoff contenders (Angels from August 4-7, Brewers from August 8-10, Braves from August 11-14, Brewers again from August 15-17).

After that, the Dodgers play 11 games in a row and 27 of their final 36 games against teams that are currently below .500.