When Jamie Romak left the El Paso Chihuahuas last month to play in Korea, I wondered how much the team would miss his offense. After all, Romak was named Player of the Month for April (.372 avg, 11 HR, 25 RBIs), and he carried the team early this season with his bat. As we approach the midway point of the season, the Chihuahuas have found plenty of offensive weapons to produce at the plate.

Christian Villanueva was signed by the Padres to replace Romak, and he has responded with a .347 batting average, 7 home runs, and 27 RBIs in 36 games. Nick Buss is hitting .372 in 47 games, Rafael Ortega is hitting .308 with 32 RBIs, and Jabari Blash has 10 home runs and 36 RBIs. The Chihuahuas are sixth in the PCL with a .279 team average, fourth in home runs with 76, and fourth in RBIs.

The team's best offensive weapon, Jose Pirela, was called up by the Padres a few weeks ago. He led El Paso with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 48 games, and has continued slugging at the big league level. Through his first eight games with San Diego, the 27-year old is hitting .484 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs.

Following their 3-1 win last night, the Chihuahuas are 31-34 and just five games out of first place in the PCL's Pacific Southern Division. El Paso has three more home games with Tacoma before leaving for a key eight game road trip against Fresno and Albuquerque. Tim Hagerty calls all the action on 600 ESPN El Paso and our new mobile app sponsored by Loncar and Associates.