Pitt stop: Russell's great grab key for Cubs

September 1st, 2016

CHICAGO -- wasn't too surprised at 's acrobatic catch during Wednesday night's 6-5 win over the Pirates. Bryant's had a front-row seat for all of the Cubs shortstop's amazing plays.

The Cubs led, 5-1, when the Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. struck out but walked to force in a run. then popped up toward the foul line in left field. That's when Russell took off.

The shortstop chased after the ball and was able to snare it as he fell, ending the inning. Statcast™ tracked the ball's hang time at 5.4 seconds, and Russell ran 106 feet to make the catch. That's the farthest Statcast™ has tracked a shortstop who made a catch on a ball with a hang time of less than 5.5 seconds. He reached 19.3 mph on his dash, which had a route efficiency of 98.5 percent. Russell also likely kept the Pirates from tying the game, as all three runners were moving on contact with two outs. He was pumped after the play, and yelled, as did the 38,137 at Wrigley Field.

"I just got a good read on the ball," Russell said. "I anticipated him hitting it up the middle and he hit it the other way. I thought there was no way I was going to make that play, but I hustled over there and got a glove on it and just made the play. It was awesome."

It looked like Russell might have tripped before he caught it.

"It was more like running and like a one-legged jump slide," Russell said. "I had to track the ball into my glove because going over there toward that line. I really didn't know where the foul line was at and where the bullpen was at. I put my head down and last second, just tried to track it."

"He has this ability to make that kind of play, whether it's a popup or ground ball," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's been nothing short of spectacular."

It's just another play to add to an already long highlight reel of Russell gems.

"That was one of the better catches I've seen," Bryant said. "I thought it was [left fielder Matt] Szczur's ball and Addison comes out of nowhere. It's no surprise to me; he's been making plays like that all year long. That was huge in that situation. We had to really work for that win and that was one of the plays that was a turning point."

Bryant said he didn't have a chance to get the ball and tried to stay out of the way.

"I thought it would be Matt's all the way, but the wind pushed it back a bit," Bryant said. "It's almost like [Russell] dove too early and still caught it. I had a front-row seat, and that was one of the best catches I've seen."

The young shortstop also drove in two runs, hitting an RBI single and a sacrifice fly. He leads the team with 24 multi-RBI games and leads all National League shortstops with 86 RBIs.