The Carlos Ruiz(notes) Bandwagon makes a particular sound at Citizens Bank Park. Just train your ears to pick up the "Chooooooooooooooch" and hitch a ride with the Phillies' hottest postseason hitter.
The 30-year-old Ruiz leads the Phillies in the playoffs with a .429 batting average, which contrasts his .246 career mark over three full seasons. The hits haven't been empty ones, either; his three-run homer was the key to victory in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Overall, Ruiz has seven RBIs, which is second on the team to Ryan Howard's(notes) 12 — as is his 1.158 OPS. And Ruiz's .476 secondary average is second to Jayson Werth's(notes) .708. Ruiz walks and even steals the annual base. Pretty good for a 5-foot-8 fireplug.
Ruiz is having the playoffs of his life so far, but it's not an October surprise. He's a career .316 hitter with an .870 OPS in the postseason.
"He likes the bright lights," said Howard, seen above with the Phillies catcher during Sunday night's 11-0 victory against the Dodgers in Game 3.
He's producing so well in the playoffs that a movement has begun to give Ruiz, who was nicknamed "Chooch" in the minors, another monicker — one that reflects his playoff success and his Panamanian roots.
With Reggie Jackson forever owning "Mr. October," please welcome: "Señor Octubre." Will it catch on? Too late to wonder; it already has.
Fun and clever, but to be truly classic, the Ruiz design needs to include somewhere a schematic of the Panama Canal, or an outline of the country. Side-by-side renderings of Ruiz and Reggie, looking off into the distance. Anyway.
All of this attention for a guy who had trouble definitively beating out Chris Coste(notes) for the starting catching job until this season? Hey, Ruiz actually had a solid regular season beyond his below-average batting average. His .780 OPS was third in the NL for catchers with at least 300 at-bats. Atlanta's Brian McCann(notes) was tops at .834.
Chooch can swing it a little.
Sorry. Señor Octubre can swing it.
"I try to basically enjoy the game," Ruiz said, attempting to explain why he's played better in the playoffs than he has in the regular season. "I relax so well, and I basically want to get the team my portion of the whole pie."
Mmm. Playoff pie.