Cubs manager Joe Maddon resisted any temptation to sit slumping Addison Russell on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series despite his 1-for-24 postseason performance.
Maddon was rewarded when Russell hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat in the fourth inning and then he reached on an infield single and scored in the sixth. He then added another hit in the ninth of the 10-2 rout of the Dodgers.
“Right now Addison and Javy (Baez) up the middle is our best chance,” Maddon said, alluding to the premium he places on defense.
Furthermore, Maddon doesn’t believe Russell’s confidence will waver because of the 22-year-old shortstop’s success, including being selected to start the All-Star Game.
“The All-Star Game appearance accelerated his confidence,” Maddon said. “Regardless of what happens right now, I don’t think it’s going to detract from next year. He’s way too young and has so many adjustments to make over the next several years.
“We have a lot of young guys with a lot of years to come to continue to get better. I don’t think any negative experience right now is going to linger.”
Nevertheless, Russell’s production has tailed off since the start of September. After driving in 45 runs in July and August, Russell is batting .176 with nine RBIs since Sept. 1.