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Yankees lineup vs. White Sox; Joba insisted on sliders, Claiborne returns, Phelps not close

Austin Romine is in, and the surging Mark Reynolds continues to mysteriously bat behind the dead-since-April Vernon Wells.

"Why yes, I did rig the deck. What of it?"- Romine
"Why yes, I did rig the deck. What of it?"- Romine
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the lineup for today's Labor Day matinee in the Bronx against the AL Central cellar-dwelling White Sox. The Yankees were already embarassed by Robin Ventura's crew once this year back in early August; they cannot afford further humilation (especially at home) as they attempt to stay in the playoff race.

1. Brett Gardner - CF
2. Derek Jeter - SS
3. Robinson Cano - 2B
4. Alfonso Soriano - LF
5. Alex Rodriguez - 3B
6. Vernon Wells - DH
7. Curtis Granderson- RF
8. Mark Reynolds - 1B
9. Austin Romine - C
(Courtesy of LoHud)

The lineup is almost the same as the one deployed yesterday against Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen as the Yankees face another southpaw, Jose Quintana. The only differences are Jeter playing shortstop, Granderson starting in right field with Eduardo Nunez on the bench, Wells on DH duty, and Joe Girardi drawing the seven of clubs to start Romine over Chris Stewart. (What would starting J.R. Murphy be? The joker? It seems highly unlikely that Girardi will start his third catcher, but I'm still curious.) Why Wells continues to bat ahead of Reynolds is beyond me since the latter is clearly the better hitter. Whatever.

In Chad Jennings' post-game notes from yesterday over at LoHud, he mentioned conflicting quotes from Stewart and Joba Chamberlain on the pitch selection to Adam Jones prior to Jones's decisive three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, which turned a close one-run game into a much more difficult four-run deficit:

Why three straight sliders to Adam Jones? "We needed a double play right there," Chamberlain said. "I threw him the sliders and just — as aggressive as Adam is — if I threw it in a good spot and hopefully get him to roll over and get us out of that inning, and keep us within one run. That was the thought process."

Interestingly, this was Stewart’s take on three straight sliders: "I wanted to throw another fastball just to get them off there, but Joba felt confident in the slider and unfortunately, all three of them weren’t really good sliders. He just didn’t have it coming out of the bullpen, and he left one hanging and he hit a homer on it."

Oh. We sometimes rag on Stewart, but if he could tell that Joba's slider wasn't good yesterday, then Joba shouldn't have been insisting on it. Yes, I understand the adage that sometimes it's better for pitchers to throw a pitch that they have have confidence in than one that they have doubts about, but Jones clearly figured out Joba's approach and absolutely destroyed the third slider in a row. Moral of the story? Please, please, please stop pitching Joba in remotely close games.

At least it looks like Preston Claiborne is back with the team now if his clothes are to be believed:

McCullough also reported that David Phelps is "not close" to returning, according to Girardi. He has started playing catch, but it still seems unlikely that he will return in 2014 unless he has significant progress in September.