Active Cubs bullpen showing wear and tear

CHICAGO -- A heavy workload could be catching up to Chicago Cubs relievers Shawn Camp and James Russell.

Camp, who didn’t pitch Saturday, entered play tied for the National League lead in appearances with 57. Russell entered tied for third at 55 and that was before he set foot on the mound yet again Saturday.

After the Reds rallied off him Saturday, Russell has now given up the lead in two of his last four outings as the opponent rallied for eventual victories.

Last weekend at Los Angeles he blew a save against the Dodgers by allowing two inherited runners to score, and the three runs he gave up to the Reds in the eighth inning Saturday left him with a blown save and the loss in a 4-2 defeat.

“It’s tough but it’s nothing I don’t think I can handle,” said Russell, who has given up nine of his 21 earned runs this season in two outings over the last 21 days. “If you’re going to be that guy they turn to in the eighth, ninth, seventh inning, whatever, you’re going to have to face some righties. They’re human, they’re easy to get out, but sometimes it doesn’t fare that way.”

Manager Dale Sveum defended Russell, saying the left-hander was the victim of bad luck and indeed the Reds' Brandon Phillips seemed to say after his eighth-inning single in the midst of the rally that he didn't even see the pitch that he hit. There was also a bloop hit that fell between second baseman Darwin Barney and right fielder Joe Mather.

Camp wasn’t even eligible to pitch Saturday after pitching in each of the two previous games. He has been a solid find since he was picked up off waivers from the Mariners in spring training. He entered the month with a 2.70 ERA, but it has been a struggle since then.

Camp has given up a run in four of his five outings this month, leaving him with a 19.64 ERA in August.

“Camp was down today but Russell had some rest and those guys have been our guys in the later innings,” Sveum said.