Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 7/21/12

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The Blue Jays scored two first-inning runs, proving to be all they would need on their way to a 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Josh Beckett has now given up 19 earned runs in the first innings of his 16 starts for a 10.69 ERA. But it’s a disturbing trend that has plagued the rotation this season.
Red Sox starters have allowed at least one run in the first inning of 16 of their last 19 games at Fenway Park since June 10, including 11 of their last 12. Overall this season, the staff’s first-inning ERA is 6.70, giving up a total of 70 earned runs in the 94 games. That is nearly three runs higher than all subsequent innings combined, when they have a 3.80 ERA, giving up 318 earned runs in 752 2/3 innings.

CSNNE - Red Sox notes: First inning woes not just for Beckett

The media is really down on Josh Beckett this morning after last night's start, but it's all a bunch of poppycock.

Yeah, he got pegged for 2 runs in the first (bringing his first inning ERA over 10 on the year), but as I wrote last night, it was a fairly typical 2012 start for Beckett.  Seeing him give up 4-5 runs isn't shocking.  Beckett has been treated like a pinata this season.  Everything he does is the worst thing any Sox player has ever done.  But in Josh's defense, the first inning issue isn't isolated to just him.  It's a problem for the entire Sox staff.

Maureen Mullen whips out some pretty eye-opening stats in the article above.  Sox starters have given up 70 first inning earned runs in 94 games.  That doesn't mean 70 out of 94 games, but that's still a lot of runs and a lot of games.  Lately the Sox offense has done a good job of retaliating, frequently getting those runs back in the first.  And when you have an offensive juggernaut like the Sox do, putting them down 1 or 2 runs to start the game shouldn't be devastating.

But it can be.  Being down changes your approach.  If you can get those runs back in the early innings, guy start pressing.  It simply changes the mindset of the hitters.  They've been able to handle that very well, but you can't expect them to every night.  Sometimes, an Aaron Laffey is going to take advantage and shut the offense down. 

Rest of the links:

Globe - Early innings haunt Beckett | Sox come up empty | CSNNE -Gasper: Garza wouldn't fill ace role for Sox | Momentum lost in Beckett's early struggles | Herald -Bobby Valentine feeling better | Red Sox can’t Laff it off | First-inning struggles continue for Josh Beckett | WEEI - Making sense of Josh Beckett and the state of the Red Sox rotation | Beckett: Not 'a whole lot of positives'

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