For a few weeks this season, the New York Yankees seemed to be establishing an unusual identity for a powerhouse contending team: The Cardiac Clubbers, to put an old-timey moniker on it.
That is, the Yankees seemed to have a propensity for come-from-behind wins. They came from behind to win their first two games this season, in fact, beating the Red Sox both times. By May 12, the Bombers had come back to win 11 times in games they trailed at some point, the highest total in baseball.
New York's rate of comeback wins has slowed and while the Yankees still top the leaderboard with 13 comeback wins (through Wednesday), other teams have closed in, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers, who all have 12.
When a team enjoys a spate of comeback wins, it generates a lot of narrative energy, especially if most of those rallies happen in the late innings and are punctuated by game-winning hits leading to lots of dancing around the field.
Some might even start to suggest that such a team has developed a "knack" for these kinds of wins. They have a "never say die" spirit and are mentally tough. The thing is, these kinds of ephemeral descriptions make for nice stories but they rarely hold up to analytical scrutiny.
Nevertheless, is there anything we can say about a team with a lot of comeback wins? Does such a trait portend great things down the line? Is it actually a bad thing because good teams don't fall behind that often in the first place?