For one, in a critical first and third, nobody out spot, Russell got to a grounder deep in the hole at short. The kind of grounder, in that situation, that you look at and think, “Well, shoot – the run is going to score, but at least they’ll get an out.”
Except Russell pounced, picked, and fired so quickly to second that the Cubs actually got two outs on the play.
Earlier in the game, Russell made another incredible play on a hard grounder by Carlos Gonzalez. Russell was the only man on the left side of the infield thanks to the extreme shift, and he was all, “Don’t worry, I got this”:
I enjoy the Statcast metrics on that one, even if I don’t have a ton of context for the numbers. I can tell it was a very quick read by Russell and an “efficient route.” The arm strength didn’t look all that strong – Russell has a good arm, but not necessarily a rocket – but that’s partly because of how quickly he was getting up and getting the ball out, and partly because he had no momentum carrying him toward first base.
All in all, it’s the kind of impressive play we’ve come to expect from Russell at shortstop.