CLEVELAND -- Hitting coach Greg Walker came up with one word in particular when asked on Tuesday morning to sum up the 2011 season for the White Sox and their inconsistent offense.
"Disappointing," Walker said. "We had high expectations coming into this year. I've never seen a team more excited to get to Spring Training and get to work.
"We started the season, that opening week, really good, and felt great about the team. And it just kind of didn't happen."
So where did it all go off course for the offense, which entered Tuesday's doubleheader at Progressive Field with a .255 average, 145 home runs and 620 runs scored? There were injuries to such key cogs as Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin, and of course, the struggles of Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham have been documented time and time again.
As manager Ozzie Guillen said recently, a season's worth of underachieving can't be placed on the shoulders of two or three players.
"Some guys had bad years, but overall it was a lot of things," Walker said. "Situational hitting, getting runners in from third with less than two outs, it has been a thorn in our side all year. We had a bad year."
Walker has not talked much about his future, only stating that he will re-evaluate his status before looking into a 10th year as the team's hitting coach. He had the same basic response when asked about the possibility of Guillen not being back for a ninth year at the helm in 2012.
"I don't even want to comment on that," Walker said. "We'll wait until it all happens and see what happens."
Until then, the White Sox will finish this last week and think about the things that went wrong in what had been projected as a very promising year.
"Coming off last year, we finished really strong, and I felt good about everybody, and it's pretty well documented what happened," Walker said. "I thought we would be an elite offensive team, and we turned out to be a below-average offensive team. Just disappointing, that's the only word I can come up with."