In canine speak, it's been a dog of a season for the White Sox, who are back to 20 games under the .500 mark at 40-60 after losing to the Royals 5-1 Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Continuing the theme, there's an overwhelming perception the Sox' minor-league system is stocked with young mutts, the direct result of former general manager Kenny Williams' 12-year run of trading away top prospects.
Contact information ( * required )
New GM Rick Hahn has already added one minor-leaguer with some promise -- Brandon Jacobs. The 22-year-old outfielder came over from Boston on July 12 in the Matt Thornton trade, and Jacobs is batting .379 with 8 RBI in his first nine games with Class AA Birmingham.
Jacobs likely needs another full season on the farm before the White Sox consider him for a roster spot, and the same holds true for Barons teammate, outfielder Trayce Thompson.
On the pitching side, the Sox' minor-league system has been showing some promise.
Erik Johnson was on a roll through the first three months of the season, going 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA at Birmingham and 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA at Class AAA Charlotte before going down with a groin strain on July 3. The right-hander appears close to coming off the disabled list.
On Thursday, Andre Rienzo, also at Charlotte, pitched a 7-inning no-hitter against Indianapolis, striking out a career-high 11.
After getting off to a slow start, the 25-year-old Rienzo is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four outings. Overall, he's 8-6 with a 4.06 ERA.
Rienzo pitched for his native Brazil in the World Baseball Classic during spring training, so manager Robin Ventura only got to see him pitch in 2 Cactus League games.
"I don't think I saw him at his best, but you could see that sharp curveball and some command, and you know, a pretty high-energy guy," Ventura said.
New White Sox catcher Josh Phegley caught Rienzo and Johnson at Charlotte before coming up to the major leagues on July 5.
"(Rienzo) definitely has the potential, no doubt," Phegley said. "That's not for me to decide, but he's got good stuff and he's a great competitor. I only caught (Johnson) a couple times at Charlotte and he looked good. He's got good stuff as well and it's just the development process he's got to go through. He's only going to continue to get better."
Another rising minor-league starter, Birmingham right-hander Scott Snodgress, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning Sunday before allowing a one-out single.
Only 24 and well into his second full season with the Sox, Jose Quintana started against Kansas City on Friday and had another tough-luck night.
Quintana (5-3) allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings but took the loss after the White Sox scored fewer than 2 runs for the 14th time in his 21 outings this season.
"We got some hits," Quintana said through an interpreter. "But you also have to realize you're facing a pretty good pitcher (K.C.'s James Shields). The offense was there, we just couldn't get the runs."