Early in my softball season this spring, I hit a ground ball and proceeded to run as fast as my legs would to try to beat out the throw to first. Unfortunately, in the process, I came down extremely hard on my heel in the stretch to first. I immediately had shooting pain all throughout my foot and thought for sure I had broken it. I limped back to the dugout and sat in pain. I sucked it up and finished the game and played the second game, limping all the way. Not all that smart, but when I am in a game, I don’t want to come out. It turned out that my foot was not broken, but rather a deep bone bruise was revealed. Nonetheless, I was on crutches and limping for about a week.

The Cubs, who came into this year with huge expectations, are suffering lately from a broken offense, which has caused them to limp pathetically into the All-Star break. If ever there was a team in need of some rest and healing, it has to be the Cubs. This is a team that was not swept at all last year, but now faces the very real possibility of being swept in a second straight series this year, on national TV to make it worse. Fans in the city of Chicago have gone from incredibly optimistic, with both of its baseball teams in the hunt, to slowly becoming despondent and cumbersome towards baseball. With names like Prior, Wood, Sosa, Ordonez, and Thomas appearing on the DL this year, baseball in Chicago is looking grim and uninteresting.

Enter the All-Star Break. With the three days off, both teams will have a chance to rest, circle the wagons and come up with a gameplan for the second half of the season. In my opinion, both teams have a chance to be successful in the second half. The Cubs, who will get Wood, Ramirez, and Remlinger back today, also have Wellmeyer, Gonzalez, Dempster, and Borowski on the way soon. In a sense, that’s the same as making a trade for a starter at third, short, closer, and three members of the pitching staff, including one with Ace like stuff. With these guys healthy, the Cubs have as good of a chance as anyone else at making a run in the second half. To this point, we have not seen the 25 man roster that Jim Hendry had on paper to start this season. With that being the case, I am hanging on with hope. However, I am thanking God that tomorrow is a break from Cubs baseball for 3 days.

Return of Kerry Wood

With Woody returning from the DL today, everyone in baseball keeps talking about how he’ll be a huge lift to this club tonight. I am optimistic that he will in fact be that welcome moral boost, but here is my prediction for tonights start.

5 IP, 110 pitches, 3 hits, 6 walks, 6 K’s, and 4 ER.

Wood is a power pitcher. With it being his first start back, on national TV, against a hated rival, in a very important game, he will try to throw the ball completely through poor Barrett’s glove. As a result, he will be very pumped up and as a result, be wild and inconsistent. Here’s hoping I am wrong, but I have a feeling I won’t be.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail