Oakland missed a golden opportunity to make waves in the American League West before the break, getting swept in four games by the Rangers, but will try to right the ship against another division foe to start the second half.
After succumbing to Texas to close the first half, the A's dropped to 14 games below .500 for the first time since Sept. 13, 2009. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will take the ball in the series opener, seeking to snap the A's four-game losing streak and a strong start to his club's second half.
However, he will have a tough task trying to slow the streaking Angels. The Halos look to continue their recent hot play, having won 11 of their final 13 first-half games. Since June 13, their 19-6 record is best in the Majors.
"This is the team that I thought we should have," Torii Hunter said.
That team has also come to life at the plate recently, which has helped during its recent tear. The Angels hit 16 home runs during their 13-game homestand leading into the break, including five by Mark Trumbo, who pushed his rookie-leading total to 17 before the break.
"I'm happy the way we're playing right now. It's like all cylinders are clicking," Hunter said. "All our young guys are stepping up and swinging the bats well. Our defense is a lot of fun. Pitching staff's been pitching pretty well. Sometimes you just have to ride that bike 'til the wheels fall off."
Angels: Haren to start second half
Dan Haren will lead off the rotation following the break after Jered Weaver started Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. After Haren, it is likely Weaver -- who recorded one strikeout and walked one in one inning in the All-Star Game -- and Ervin Santana who will pitch in Saturday's doubleheader.
"This guy is a grinder," Scioscia said of Haren. "This guy is an extraordinary talent with the ability to command the baseball with anybody in the game right now, and he competes as well as anyone I've ever seen. You put that together, you can see why he's been so good."
Howie Kendrick went 0-for-1 in his only at-bat in the All-Star Game. Jordan Walden gave up one earned run on two hits with one strikeout in one inning.
A's: Melvin sets rotation to rest Cahill, Harden
Manager Bob Melvin announced his rotation coming out of the break. After McCarthy takes the mound in the opener, righties Trevor Cahill and Rich Harden will start the two games Saturday, giving both some extra time off after their last outings. Gio Gonzalez, the A's lone All-Star representative, will close out the series on Sunday.
Guillermo Moscoso looks to be the A's fifth starter coming out of the break. Tyson Ross was the other candidate, but suffered a setback in his rehab assignment. Ross will not throw for a week because of shoulder stiffness.
The A's lead the season series, 5-4, and have won both meetings in Oakland this year.