So let’s say the A’s win today and Texas drops its fourth straight. That would leave Oakland 7 1/2 games back heading into the All-Star break — still lots of ground to make up, but enticing enough to make you wonder if they can make a move over the second half, wouldn’t you say?
–Trevor Cahill takes the mound looking to bounce back after A-Rod took him deep twice in his last start. Oddball stat working in Cahill’s favor: He’s 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts during day games this season, as opposed to 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts at night. His day ERA is third lowest in the AL. Once he throws his first pitch, he becomes ineligible for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, and we’ll find out later today who gets chosen to replace him on the AL’s active roster. Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow are the A’s candidates …
–Rajai Davis is back in the lineup after last night’s 5-RBI game, and there’s a chance he’ll get more time in left field after the All-Star break. Conor Jackson is heading to Arizona tomorrow to continue rehabbing his right hamstring. There’s no timetable for Jackson to play in minor league games, so it’s looking doubtful he’d be activated from the disabled list Friday when the A’s resume play after the All-Star break in Kansas City.
–A’s manager Bob Geren is still hopeful Dallas Braden can throw in a rehab game Thursday, which would put him in line to start July 20 — the fifth slot as the A’s roll out their post-break rotation. I talked to Braden this morning, and he’s taking a cautious attitude as he comes back from his tender left elbow. “My arm is going to tell me when I’m ready and when I feel good,” he said. He was scheduled to play catch today and spin off a couple breaking balls. He’s only thrown fastballs and changeups so far. … The earliest Brett Anderson would return is the second cycle through the rotation — probably once the A’s leave for a six-game road trip against Texas and the Chicago White Sox. That trip begins July 27.
–Oakland’s rotation coming out of the break: Gio Gonzalez, Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Ben Sheets, Braden (tentative).
A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Sweeney RF, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Rosales 2B, Davis LF, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.
Angels — Aybar SS, Kendrick 2B, Abreu RF, Hunter CF, Matsui DH, Napoli 1B, Aldridge LF, Frandsen 3B, Mathis C; Weaver RHP.