(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon acknowledged that his team wasn’t its usual self in concluding an 0-6 road trip out West last week, and he wasn’t referencing just the poor play on the field.
He also felt as if the Cubs’ weren’t their usual enthusiastic selves. It’s one of the reasons that Maddon has such a staunch belief in resting players, even when some outsiders criticize him for not creating enough stability in his lineup.
One such player Maddon is utilizing the rest tactic with is struggling shortstop Addison Russell, who’s hitting .213 on the season with a .639 OPS and is mired in a 7-of-41 rut. Russell rested Saturday and Monday for the Cubs before subbing in later in the games as a defensive replacement.
Maddon believes Russell will regain his All-Star form of 2016.
“Of course it’s not like seventh game of the World Series high, but it will get back there also,” Maddon said of Russell’s confidence level. “I’ve had good conversations with him, and that’s the whole point — I’m trying not to have him become overwhelmed and buried emotionally or mentally. And also the explanation there is easily because of Javy Baez. If you don’t have Javy as your other shortstop, you probably ride Addy a little harder and make him kind of work his way through this, because you need the defense so much. But I think coming off last year and the last couple years, a lot of these younger players — I know they’re young — but there’s still a lot going on in their minds and being able in my mind’s eye to right now back off some of them right now, I think is going to benefit us later in the season. I’m seeing the energy returned to the group right now after the West Coast trip was tough.
“I can feel the energy in the dugout. So I believe, like I’ve always talked about, that rest matters. With Addy, as I’ve told him, when you get back in the swing of things, you’ll be back on your regular patterns.”
Listen to Maddon’s full interview below.