Whether he has a tired arm or is just going through the ebbs and flows of the season, it's obvious that Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija is struggling.
Samardzija took a loss on Wednesday against the Reds, allowing six runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. It marked his third straight outing allowing five or more earned runs and brought his innings total to a career-high 194 2/3 this season.
While the right-hander got out of most jams in the first five innings, he didn't have the same luck in the sixth, when pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan blasted a three-run home run that put the game out of reach.
"I didn't think it was all that bad until the last three-run homer," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Samardzija's performance. "He gave up a couple on a couple bloopers and obviously a solo homer. But other than the two home run balls, there wasn't really hard contact all day long.
Samardzija (8-12, 4.44 ERA) will look to get back on track as the Cubs take on the Brewers on Tuesday at Miller Park.
Right-hander Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.29 ERA) will be on the hill for the Brewers after one of his best starts of the season on Wednesday against St. Louis.
After tossing 5 2/3 hitless innings, Estrada allowed an infield single to Matt Carpenter to break up the no-hitter. He allowed one run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings for the no-decision.
"[Estrada] did his job, and it's unfortunate with a couple great starts that we don't win the games," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after the game.
Estrada has gone 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts since coming off the disabled list in early August. He's 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Cubs this season.
Cubs: Barney in consideration for Gold Glove
With Gold Glove ballots being distributed to Major League managers and coaches this week, Sveum thinks a handful of Cubs should be considered.
"[Darwin] Barney is the obvious choice," Sveum said of his second baseman who won his first Gold Glove last season. "We've got some candidates and some very strong candidates. Barney's done nothing to give his away, that's for sure."
Barney leads all National League second basemen in fielding percentage and defensive WAR (1.4). Welington Castillo ranks first among Major League catchers with a 2.5 defensive WAR, while Anthony Rizzo leads all first basemen in defensive WAR (0.6) and UZR (.900) and ranks second in fielding percentage.
Brewers: Top prospect Nelson could make start
Milwaukee is considering a start for top pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson before the end of the season. However, Roenicke didn't say on Monday where the right-hander might fit in.
Already using a six-man rotation until the end of the season, it is unlikely Nelson would be used in the team's next home series, which is against the Cardinals. He's more likely to get a start during the Brewers' final road trip and face either the Braves or the Mets.
"He's an aggressive guy, and that makes a difference," Roenicke said. "Maybe he'll be wild, I don't know. But he's going to come at you and he's going to give you his best stuff. Those are the kind of guys you want to see, so if we can get him in there, we want to see him."
• The Cubs have 34 wins on the road this season, 11 more than their total on the road last year.
• When leading after eight innings this season, the Brewers are 56-1.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.