Ventura supports struggling Ramirez

Alexei Ramirez's power outage has been a surprise this season. Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- The worst season of Alexei Ramirez's career doesn't appear to be getting any better after the shortstop made three errors Tuesday night to give him 20 on the season.

Those 20 match his career worst, set previously in 2009 and 2010, and there are still 6 1/2 weeks remaining in the season.

"I don't know exactly what it is but going up the middle, some are different little hops and plays," manager Robin Ventura said. "We know he's better than that so there are times when there are some tough plays. He makes the really difficult plays. When he does make those it surprises you."

It's been slightly better on offense of late as the right-handed hitter brought a 10-game hitting streak into play Wednesday, but overall the season has hardly met Ramirez's expectations.

At SoxFest in late January, Ramirez committed himself to a better offensive season, saying he wanted the power element to return to his game after his home run total dropped to a career-low nine this season.

Despite home runs in both games of Friday's doubleheader, though, Ramirez has just three this year and he is projected to hit just four the entire year.

Yet for all the offensive issues, the troubles on defense have been most alarming. Ramirez was being touted as a potential Gold Glove winner after his first two seasons at shortstop. He's nowhere near the Gold Glove conversation now.

Ventura remained supportive of Ramirez on Wednesday but knows that play like this heading into next season will be hard to defend. Ventura alluded to the off-the-field problems Ramirez has faced this year, including the reported incident in March when his father in law was killed.

"You can have a season where you're just not as good as other ones," Ventura said. "He'll come back and make a play that nobody else in the league can make. You don't know exactly what it is. He has a lot of other stuff going on that, it's tough to deal with at times. That's stuff that's off the field. It's hard to have him separate those two at times."