Cubs shortstop Addison Russell had his worst game of the season Tuesday night, popping up a bunt, throwing wide of first twice, striking out, slumping his shoulders and dragging a long face back to the dugout.
It took all of 16 hours for the mood to flip with his best game of the season Wednesday afternoon – in just one inning.
That included an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center in the top of the third, followed by a leadoff double and a two-run homer in the bottom half as the Cubs batted around against Marlins left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
“You have good days and you have bad days,” said Russell, who didn’t have a home run this season – and only eight extra-base hits – until Wednesday’s 13-4 rout of the Marlins.
“The power numbers are going to show up. It’s just contact for me right now,” Russell said. “I’m not trying to create anything. I’m not trying to press or do anything like that.”
He didn’t have to.
“The biggest thing is he’s just not hitting to his potential yet,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Turns out Chen and the Marlins brought a sizable dose of cure for what ailed Russell at the plate.
And Anthony Rizzo, for that matter. The slugging first baseman didn’t have a double until hitting two Wednesday, along with a three-run homer for a five-RBI game.
In fact, the Marlins proved exactly the medicine the Cubs needed after a nausea-inducing weekend in St. Louis – helping to cure in three days everything ailing the Cubs except the Yu Flu.
Slumping Ian Happ had two homers and five RBI in the series opener; slumping Willson Contreras had three extra-base hits Wednesday, including two triples; Rizzo had multihit games in both games he played in the series; Kris Bryant went 5-for-10 with three extra-base hits in the series, including career home run No. 100 Wednesday; and Russell wound up 3-for-3 with two walks Wednesday.
Sprinkle in an eight-inning start from Kyle Hendricks in the opener, an impressive six-inning start from Jose Quintana Wednesday and errorless play in the field for three days, and it all added up to a sweep of the overwhelmed Marlins by a combined 31-9 margin.
That would be the White Sox – one of only six teams worse than the Marlins entering play Wednesday.
The crosstown series starts Friday at 1:20 p.m. at Wrigley Field.