Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, left, taps catcher Jason Varitek on the helmet after Beckett and the Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-0 in a baseball game, Sunday, July 12, 2009, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Josh Beckett made sure that the Boston Red Sox would head into the All-Star break on a high note as he fired a complete game 3-hit shutout at the Kansas City Royals yesterday afternoon.

It was vintage Beckett yesterday afternoon as he was in complete control of all of his pitches. He was also very economical as he only needed 93 pitches to get the job done. I think we all had a feeling after watching the bullpen fail on Saturday night that Beckett was going to take matter into his own hands.

It was the 100th career win for Beckett as well. He joins his friend and teammate Brad Penny who did it this year as well in a Red Sox uniform.

Dustin Pedroia, who will miss the All-Star game to be with his pregnant wife Kelli, continues to swing a hot stick as does Kevin Youkilis. Both had been slumping but that now things to be a thing of the past.

After the game yesterday, Terry Francona made an announcement that may have come as a surprise to many. Francona gave his plans for the post All-Star break rotation and stated that Clay Buchholz will come up from Pawtucket to start the game on Friday and then be sent right back down.

What’s intriguing to me about this is the Buchholz has been mentioned in the trade rumors for the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay. The Jays had two scouts in attendance at his start yesterday and oh by the way, the Red Sox play the Jays on Friday night in Toronto. The probable starter for the Jays just happens to be Halladay.

As for me, I’m still not sure we need Halladay. I really think the Red Sox need a left-handed power bat to come off the bench. But a top 3 in the rotation of Beckett, Lester and Halladay wouldn’t be so bad either. It’s definitely going to be interesting to hear the rumors over the next 18 days or so as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.

Sox show firepower [Boston Globe]

Josh Beckett shows aces [Boston Herald]

They’re sitting pretty heading into the break [Providence Journal]

Beckett Pitches 3-Hit Shutout As Red Sox Beat Royals [Hartford Courant]

Midseason report card [Boston Globe]

Red Sox set for second act [Boston Herald]

Red Sox Journal: First hit launches Bates on a hot streak [Providence Journal]

Buchholz to start Friday [Hartford Courant]

Wakefield is straight-out beloved [Boston Globe]

Clay Buchholz gets start Friday vs. Blue Jays [Boston Herald]

Beckett heads into the All-Star break as one of baseball’s hottest hurlers [Providence Journal]

Buchholz to start Friday [Boston Globe]

Dustin Pedroia takes All-Star pass [Boston Herald]

Buchholz hopes to make the most of his second chance in the big leagues [Providence Journal]

Pedroia puts family first [Boston Globe]

Aaron Bates states his case [Boston Herald]

In tough decision, Pedroia chooses family over All-Star Game [Providence Journal]

Bates contributes in major way [Boston Globe]

Nick Green braves situation [Boston Herald]

Red Sox honor former center fielder Dom DiMaggio [Providence Journal]

Wakefield in Perspective: The Top Free-Agent Signings in Red Sox History [Alex Speier –]

A Tale of Two Sox Futures [Extra Bases]

Bay says Sox fans have seen nothing yet []

A Long Awakening: Remembering Wakefield’s Arrival in Boston [Alex Speier –]

Bates finally starts to show what he’s all about [Full Count]

Weekend Thoughts [Justin Masterson – Wicked Good Sports]

Buchholz’s Big Day: Bad Starts, Trade Rumors, and Major League Promotions [Full Count]

Kelly molding his future as we speak []

For more slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Providence Journal websites.

And if the enemy papers are more you flavor, you can check out the Kansas City Star and Topeka Capital-Journal websites.