PHILADELPHIA — Brett Gardner said the biggest problem for the Yankees this season comes down to one issue: “Consistency.”
Lately, though, they’ve been plenty consistent. Consistently bad.
That trend continued Sunday, as the Yankees lost for the seventh time in nine games in a 7-0 defeat to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Domingo German was awful, the offense nonexistent and Rougned Odor became the latest Yankee to get thrown out at third base on a ground ball to the shortstop, as their fundamental baserunning skills show no signs of improving.
Their next game is Tuesday against the Blue Jays in Buffalo — a fitting setting for a team that’s playing as if it belongs in the minors.
The latest loss dropped the Yankees a season-high 8 ½ games back of first-place Tampa Bay and just one game over .500 (33-32).
Searching for positivity, the Yankees have often talked about their starting pitching, but the rotation is nothing special these days. Their starters have a 6.16 ERA in the past 14 games.
German contributed with his worst outing of the season, allowing seven runs in 4 ¹/₃ innings on a day the Yankees were desperate for length.
A day after the Phillies opened the game with four straight baserunners against Jameson Taillon, they teed off early against German.
Odubel Herrera led off with a single and moved to third on a base hit by Jean Seguro. An infield single by J.T. Realmuto scored Herrera to put the Yankees in another early hole.
A fine play by Gleyber Torres helped the Yankees avoid further damage. Bryce Harper lined a shot up the middle that Torres backhanded and flipped to second to get Realmuto and then Segura got caught in a rundown between second and third for the second out. German got Rhys Hoskins to fly to right to end the inning.
But German allowed a leadoff double to Andrew McCutchen in the second and Alec Bohm followed by ripping a single to right.
With runners on the corners, German got Ronald Torreyes to pop out before Phillies starter Aaron Nola, unable to get a bunt down, whiffed.
German failed to get out of the inning unscathed, as Herrera then ripped a double to left to drive in McCutchen and make it 2-0 and Segura’s base hit up the middle scored two more.
With Realmuto at the plate, LeMahieu misplayed a pickoff attempt from German, which allowed Segura to get all the way to third.
Pitching coach Matt Blake finally went to talk to German on the mound and German got Realmuto to ground out to finally end the inning with the Yankees trailing 4-0 for a second consecutive day.
Their offense went back into hibernation against Nola, who tossed 7 ²/₃ shutout innings. After LeMahieu’s leadoff single in the first, the Yankees didn’t get another hit until LeMahieu’s base hit with two out in the sixth.
German was lifted with one out in the fifth after three more hits resulted in another run.
With a depleted bullpen thanks to Taillon’s one-out disaster Saturday, the Yankees went to Wandy Peralta, who allowed a two-run double to McCutchen.
And they never mounted a rally.
“I know it’s the middle of June already, but it’s not always how a team starts, it’s how it finishes,’’ Gardner said. “We’ve got quite a bit of season left. We do have a little bit of time left to figure that out. Every day that passes is another wasted opportunity.”
This was certainly a wasted weekend.
“Sometimes it’s a couple steps forward and a couple steps back,’’ Gardner said. “We’ll go on a run and play really good baseball and at times, we struggle to play good baseball on a consistent basis.”