LOS ANGELES - Addison Russell made his big-league debut three months after his 21st birthday and has never really looked overwhelmed in the nearly two years since.
The All-Star shortstop doesn't believe the playoff pressure is getting to him right now, but he admitted fatigue may be playing a factor in his offensive woes.
"The speed of the game is pretty much the same," Russell said after the Cubs' workout at Dodger Stadium Monday. "The intensity has changed. Having played 168 games-plus is new to me. I'm doing what I need to do to make sure my body's prepared and then we'll go from there."
"...It's my first time playing this long for this many consistent games. It's different, for sure."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon stressed the importance of rest all season, ensuring even young players like Russell and Kris Bryant got regular days off to stay fresh.
But this is still the latest Russell has ever played into a season, having missed the 2015 National League Championship Series due to a hamstring injury suffered at the end of the NLDS.
Monday, Maddon chatted with Russell at the batting cage and discussed staying through the ball and finishing his swing, something Russell called "an easy adjustment. It's something I can do the first time they tell me."
Russell is just 1-for-22 in the postseason, but only has three strikeouts in six games. He pointed to his low batting average as the result of some bad luck and - much like the rest of the Cubs offense - believes balls will eventually find some grass.
However, Russell did fade down the stretch in the regular season with only three hits in his last 31 at-bats and posted a .161 batting average in his final 18 games.
He still finished with 21 homers and 95 RBI, but those stats don't mean much when the Cubs are just three losses away from the end of their season.
"It's definitely something you don't want, for sure," Russell said. "It is a little frustrating, but you can't think about that. You gotta think about this pitch, this at-bat, this play.
"When it comes down to it, yeah it's a little disheartening, but you make the adjustments and hopefully the results will be there."
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Russell also said teams have started pitching him differently in October, working the outer half of the plate more. He's worked to adjust back while keeping the same mental approach.
Maddon admitted Monday he may be changing the Cubs lineup around to shake up the offense, but Russell wasn't focused on that, instead using the day off to reset mentally.
In his brief career, Russell can't recall a slump of this magnitude.
"I feel like I haven't been at a standstill. Now I'm facing this," Russell said. "This game's gonna throw some challenges at you. It's how you overcome it.
"I know that I deserve to be in the lineup playing for this club. I don't have to go out and prove anything. Just go out there and do my thing. Stay within my approach. Balls are gonna drop."