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Cubs bullpen still a work in progress after rocky trip

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs’ young lineup has been up and down, but the pitching remains the big concern through 30 games for a Cubs team making big plans for a competitive stride this season.

“We’ve been losing some ballgames we shouldn’t have been losing, and we’re all part of it,” said Kyle Hendricks, who pitched well in his start Sunday but was removed before reaching six innings for the fifth time in six starts this season.

“I am. The whole team’s part of it. That’s how baseball goes. You get in a tough patch, you’ve got to get out of it. We know we can beat these teams. And we know we’re going to once we get rolling here.”

For that to happen, the Cubs have serious work to do in the bullpen.

After going 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 58 2/3 innings through 19 games this season, the pen is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in 36 innings since then, blowing three of four save chances in that 11-game span (Cubs 3-8 in those games).

It got worse during a seven-game road trip to St. Louis and Milwaukee in which the workload was exacerbated by five starts of 5 1/3 innings or less.

In those seven games, nine Cubs relievers combined for an 8.72 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

The rotation ranks 12th in the league with just 14 quality starts through 30 games and 11th with a 4.07 ERA.