While Yovani Gallardo is still on the trade market, his disappointing first half may have scared some teams away.
Another dominant performance against the Miami Marlins could perhaps boost his value.
Gallardo aims to get on track and continue his mastery of the visiting Marlins, who try to snap their recent woes against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for Gallardo (7-8, 4.83 ERA), who struggled through the season's first 3 1/2 months. Besides posting the highest ERA of his career, Gallardo has recorded a career-low 7.21 strikeouts per nine innings and is already one loss away from matching his total from all of 2012.
In his final start before the break, Gallardo allowed three runs and four hits in six innings but didn't factor in the decision of a 5-3 loss at Arizona last Thursday.
"It's just frustrating," Gallardo, who was backed with an early three-run lead, told MLB's official website. "But that's how things are going. ... It just seems like not the right time for me.
"I felt good, I had a good curveball, a good slider, it was just the little things. I get into trouble on my own and I try to do too much, try to make that perfect pitch to get out of it."
Gallardo, in contrast, was at his best in a 6-1 win at Miami on June 10, yielding four hits over a season-high eight scoreless innings. The right-hander improved to 4-0 in six starts against the Marlins (35-59) with a 1.29 ERA, his lowest mark against any team he has faced more than once.
Logan Morrison is 0 for 11 with four strikeouts in their matchups, and Placido Polanco is 0 for 5.
The Brewers (39-56) have handled the Marlins with relative ease lately, hitting 29 homers during a 15-5 stretch in the series. Carlos Gomez and Juan Francisco provided all the offense with their 15th and 12th homers, respectively, as Milwaukee took Friday's opener 2-0.
"It felt good to get the second half started this way," winning pitcher Kyle Lohse said. "We just to keep playing some clean games and just keep it going."
Ryan Braun went 0 for 3 in his return to the lineup after coming off the bereavement list Tuesday. The slugging left fielder is hitting .246 with no homers over an 18-game stretch.
Losers in 12 of 15 at Miller Park, Miami has hit .186 and been limited to seven runs during a four-game road losing streak.
The Marlins will try to bounce back behind Nathan Eovaldi (2-0, 2.93), who has produced five quality starts in as many tries since his season debut June 18 due to inflammation in his shoulder. The right-hander walked a season-high four last Friday but managed to limit the damage, yielding three runs and three hits in six innings in an 8-3 victory over Washington.
Eovaldi has posted a 3.00 ERA but dropped all three of his starts against the Brewers, two of which came while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He received one run of support in each of those outings.
Braun is 3 for 7 with a homer and a double in their matchups. Eovaldi will also need to be careful against Francisco, who is batting .310 with five homers and nine runs in his last nine home games.