Like a skipping CD in dire need of a cleansing, Josh Beckett is following a mortifying motif of practically conceding critical games against American League East adversaries before sundown.

The visiting Toronto Blue Jays proved to pick up all they would need in the first inning on Friday, then doubled their output in the second inning before pacing themselves to a 6-1 thrashing of the Red Sox.

Beckett is now 1-4, and the team 1-6, in his last seven starts since May 31. He was previously 4-4, and the Sox 5-4, when he started, though the team’s overall progress has not swayed too far in either direction.

Boston was 26-25 after Beckett’s losing decision to Detroit on May 31 and was 48-46 by the end of Friday’s falter to the Blue Jays.

If anything, though, that means Boston could be further along in its effort to retain its postseason viability if Beckett were consistently and certifiably committed. Instead, his blatant lack of preparedness is holding the club back.

After three strikes of this nature, manager Bobby Valentine ought to consider experimenting with a radical reformation to try to remedy the pitching staff. Perhaps Beckett should temporarily swap jobs with the versatile Franklin Morales, who has alternated between starting and relieving this season and is 2-1 with two no-decisions in games in which he has pitched at least five full innings.

There is enough room and enough potential for improvement in such a switch for Valentine to try it. For if the last two weeks and his last three outings are any indication, continuing with the status quo is no way to get the best out of Beckett at this time.

Within the first two innings Friday night, Beckett authorized eight baserunners, including three on extra-base hits, and saw half of them cross the plate, for a swiftly sculpted 4-0 deficit.

This was coming five nights after he recovered from a three-run, four-hit, five-baserunner first inning en route to a rare winning decision at Tampa Bay.

One could call that an appropriate mulligan for a fairly tough, 3-2 loss in Seattle on June 30. But between those two starts, he yielded 5-0 and 6-5 deficits within the first two stanzas of an eventual 10-8 loss to the Yankees in his final start before his not-so-hard-earned All-Star break.

In that July 6 tilt at Fenway Park, Beckett’s first bout with the Bronx Bombers since before last year’s September meltdown, he loaded the bases on a hit batsman and walked in the opening run before he had even recorded an out.

By the time he sat down for the bottom of the second, he had yielded six runs on six hits and eight total runners.

Yet just as routinely, after each of these three early-inning sputters, Beckett has recovered and apparently settled in for comparatively smoother third, fourth, fifth and sometimes sixth innings.

He lasted four more frames on Friday and allowed one run on two hits, threw five straight shutout innings against the Rays, and tamed the Yankees for three stanzas July 6 before giving way to Matt Albers.

Not only could relegation to the bullpen ultimately signal the right wake-up call to Beckett, but it may also bar his current bane while promoting his current boon to help serve Boston’s interests.

So far in July, Beckett’s inning-by-inning transcript has pointed to a tendency to settle in and start pitching to a much less reprehensible effect only after extramural baseball has been played for a while.

Whether he realizes it or not, it could be that Beckett is focused and committed only after the game-time atmosphere has officially kicked in at the ballpark.

Accordingly, instead of banking on Beckett’s finishing his mental preparation in the clubhouse right before the national anthem, Valentine should put him in the bullpen for an indefinite period. That way, Beckett can prolong his warm-up and be surrounded by that tangible game-time atmosphere for one or two hours before he is summoned to the mound.

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