Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 7/21/12

If Josh Beckett can't figure out how to get through the first inning of a game without giving up any runs, it could turn out to be a long second half of the season for him and the Boston Red Sox.

Despite assurances from manager Bobby Valentine that Beckett would get through that first inning without incident, it still happened. In fact, he gave up four runs in the first two innings and his team never recovered in a 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

If Beckett needs to figure anything out, it's how to be consistent on the mound. He shows it at times as evidenced by the seven strikeouts but then he doesn't when he leaves pitches out over the plate as evidenced by the laser shots by Colby Rasmus and Yunel Escobar earlier in the game.

Of course it doesn't help when the offense can't do anything against journeyman pitcher Aaron Laffey. They had no answers for him at all. And of course this is the second time he's done this against the Red Sox this season as he has now not allowed a run against them in 13 innings.

The bright spots offensively were Kelly Shoppach, who was making his third straight start, as he went 2-for-3. Will Middlebrooks also had two singles and probably should have had a third if Kelly Johnson had not been shifted over to the middle.

I really thought the momentum from Cody Ross' walkoff home run on Thursday night and the great start from Clay Buchholz would have carried over in to Friday's game. Instead, we essentially watched the same thing we do everytime Beckett has made a start lately.

There are some out there that thinks the Red Sox should trade Beckett. That probably won't happen. And even if they did want to trade him, Beckett has veto power over any trade because he has "10 and 5" rights as a veteran. If you don't know what that means, it's simple. He's played at least 10 years in the big leagues and has spent at least five of those with the Red Sox.

However, it does make things interesting with the trade deadline coming up. Both Jon Lester and Beckett have the same number of wins this season as Daniel Bard does. And don't forget, Bard is in Triple-A trying to regain his confidence.

But with some quality pitchers available, GM Ben Cherington may have to pull the trigger on one of them especially if the Red Sox are going for it this year.

Either way, Beckett really needs to figure things out. And pretty dang quickly.

We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New England,  ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: ap photo

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