Addison Russell had a tough day at the ballpark Saturday.
He was thrown out twice on the basepaths, lost a popup in the sun, let another popup drop behind him in an apparent miscommunication with Albert Almora Jr. and somehow threw his bat into the Cubs dugout in the follow-through of a swing — again.
Joe Maddon wasn't upset about the issues on the popups, but it was the baserunning issues and mental mistakes that really irked the Cubs manager.
After the game Saturday — a 6-5 Cubs win — Maddon laid it out simply:
"He’s gotta straighten some things out," Maddon said. "He has to. There’s no question. I’m not going to stand here — he’s got to, we’ve talked about his baserunning in the past.
"… The baserunning, there’s some things there — we’re making too many outs on the bases and we’re missing things on the bases that we can’t to be an elite team."
Russell wasn't in the lineup for Sunday's game with Robel Garcia taking over at second base and before the contest, Maddon doubled down on the baseruninng comments.
"Yesterday was just a tough day and it wasn't even the popups — I don't care because the sun's tough and the wind's tough and it's a thousand degrees," Maddon said. "That's not it. There were other components that we need to make sure he gets back on top of his game with.
"His defense, for me, is still among the best. It's still among the best. He had a tough day. The physical mistakes, I never worry about them. We just gotta make sure the mental mistakes are curbed."
Since returning from suspension in May of this season, Russell rates positively as a defender and has only been charged with two errors. But he's made several other mental mistakes in the field, not to mention the baserunning gaffes that the rest of the Cubs team has seemingly moved past after struggling as a whole in that regard for a few weeks leading into the All-Star Break.
The Cubs are also waiting for Russell to get going offensively.
In Friday's series opener against the Padres, Maddon liked the way Russell was trending against left-handed pitching — an issue for the Cubs lineup in general this year — and put the embattled second baseman in the 5-spot in the order behind Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs pulled off another victory that day and Russell scored the game-winning run, but he also struck out three times.
On the year, the 25-year-old is hitting .243 with a .730 OPS, 6 homers and 16 RBI in 53 games.