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Sep 28, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) walks to the locker room after being relieved during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Serious question: with all the talk about the easy schedule the Red Sox will face during the final week of the 2021 season, do you think the Sox realized they actually have to, you know, try?

After last night, it’s fair to wonder.

On the 10-year anniversary of a defeat at Baltimore that culminated a historic September 2011 collapse, the Sox dropped a 4-2 decision to the woebegone Baltimore Orioles last night at a desolate Camden Yards. Manager Alex Cora said the Sox had “a lot of empty at-bats.” Pitcher Chris Sale (who couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead against the second-worst offense in the league) said the game “f***ing sucked.” Meanwhile, the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays in Toronto to open up a two-game lead on the Sox for the top spot in the American League Wild Card race with five days remaining in the season.

Earth to the Red Sox: you’re not as good as you think you are, no matter what you want to tweet or believe. Early in the season, for the most part, the Sox grew to be an endearing bunch by playing every pitch of every game of every series. After being swept by Yankees and all but beat over the head by Giancarlo Stanton over the weekend, you’d think they’d have shown up in Baltimore last night looking for blood.

Instead, the Sox had empty bats and played like a collection of tin men – with hollow chests. For that matter, their heads were pretty empty, too. And they didn’t exactly demonstrate courage.

Time to schedule a trip to see the all-powerful wizard.

The ugliest truth: while managing just three hits against an Orioles staff that ranks dead last in the majors in ERA, the Sox “worked” Baltimore hurlers into a mere 116 pitches. In the final five innings of the game, Baltimore relievers threw just 46 times. In the seventh and eighth innings, the Sox saw 12 pitches total. In the eighth, they saw four.

Yes, you read that correctly. In the eighth inning of what amounted to a life-or-death game, trailing by just a 3-2 score, the Red Sox gave the Orioles three outs on four pitches.

Four.

Oh, and did we mention the two fielding errors?

But remember, folks. Be careful what you say about them. Because the Red Sox are keeping the receipts.

MORE: Chris Sale sums it up after latest Red Sox letdown

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.