Daryle Ward has started in 497 Major League games and has never had a five-hit game. (For that matter, Aramis Ramirez has started in 1,291 Major League games and has never had a five-hit game.)

But last night, in just his 11th Major League start, Micah Hoffpauir banged out five hits—two home runs, a double, and two singles—in the Cubs' 7-6 loss to the Mets.

Hoffpauir is in a fight with the 33-year-old Ward, among others, for one of the precious spots on the Cubs playoff roster. If this team was managed by veteran-loving Dusty Baker, we could be sure who would capture that spot, but the current Cubs manager is at least suggesting there's a possibility he would give the 28-year-old Hoffpauir the nod.

"You know, we're looking for a couple spots, we're looking for some offense," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Put it this way, he'll be in the lineup [Friday] against Milwaukee..."

...The Cubs have three games remaining to finalize the playoff roster. The Cubs still don't know who they'll be playing, and Piniella said that could determine who he picks.

"We have to know who our opponent is first," Piniella said. "Hoffpauir's not hurting himself."

On the subject of hurting yourself relative to a post-season position...

Carlos Zambrano, who has been awful recently outside of his no-hit game against the Astros, has lost out to Ryan Dempster, who has been mostly brilliant this year at Wrigley Field, in a bid to win the starting assignment for Game 1 of the NLDS.


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