White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez losing sleep over poor series

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Alexei Ramirez. AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s been a rough series for shortstop Alexei Ramirez, whose assortment of misplays and questionable judgment may have cost the White Sox victories in the first two games of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ramirez said he took it hard, so much so that he didn’t sleep well Saturday night.

“We need to win some games. We need to play better defense,” Ramirez said Sunday morning.

This is true.

“For me it’s tough to try to leave that game behind,” said Ramirez, who couldn’t get a ball out of his glove to allow a run to score and made an errant backhand flip to second that allowed another to score in Saturday’s 5-4 loss. “It’s something that you have in your mind every time. I was watching the video a million times last night because I have to make that play. I couldn’t leave that behind me. I just try to do a better job today but it’s tough to try to forget that.”A two-time Silver Slugger winner, Ramirez has been viewed as a Gold Glove candidate because of his range, arm and ability to make the spectacular play. He is also prone to the occasional mental lapse, as bench coach Mark Parent alluded to Sunday morning.“Alexei has been here a long time,” Parent said. “He’s had days likes that and he’s had streaks like that. He’s also had streaks where he makes unbelievable plays. Sometimes you get a little careless or lack of concentration or whatever and it bites you in the butt.”Parent, filling in as manager for Robin Ventura this weekend, said he likes “to see a guy who cares and it really bothers him, because it bothers everybody.”“You have to let it go, think about it, figure out what you did wrong and try and fix it. He’s a veteran and he’s our shortstop. He’s been here a long time.”Parent also said it might be time for Ramirez, who has thrived on physical talent, and at this point in his career, time make some adjustment. At 33, it’s possible his range isn’t quite what it used to be.“As you get older you try and figure out ways to cheat,” Parent said. “I played with Cal [Ripken] for a number of games, he just got a little smarter and played the mental game more. He watched the swing of the bat, the approach, the pitch that was put down and tried to cheat. Years of experience enables you to do that. If Alexei is doing that, I couldn’t tell you, the communication from Spanish to English you don’t know. With a guy like Cal, he was always talking about it so you knew. You lose a step, maybe your bat is not as quick.”

Ramirez also let a soft fly that he tried chasing down behind second glance off his glove that cost the Sox a run in their 7-5 loss Friday. He wasn’t charged with an error but it looked like a catchable ball.

“He has a lot of pride and he doesn’t want to let people down,” said coach Joe McEwing, who works with the infielders. “So he is tough on himself. It’s easy to be negative. You have to keep grinding and be positive.”

Ramirez’s offense has been subpar, too. He went into Sunday’s game with a .235/.253/.317 slash line with two homers and 24 RBI.

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