The Boston Red Sox have four all-stars this year in David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett. (UPDATE from ESPN: Kevin Youkilis has just been added to the A.L. all-star squad as a replacement for Alex Rodriguez). However, not counting Daisuke Matsuzaka (who is out for the year after having Tommy John surgery), the Sox also have injuries to four key players in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Carl Crawford and Jed Lowrie. Add the fact Josh Beckett left Fenway Park early Friday night after five innings against the Orioles due to precautionary reasons after suffering a hyper-extended left knee injury and you've got more worries. Somehow, this team keeps on winning and has the American League's best record.
The saviors of this team lately are unsung heroes like tall lefty Andrew Miller and veteran reliever Dan Wheeler. Miller had been a high first round draft pick several years ago by the Detroit Tigers but never had any success at the big league level with that team or the team he was traded to Boston from in the offseason, the (lousy) Florida Marlins. Now, he has a working changeup and curveball to go with a decent fastball, and all of a sudden he has three wins in spot starts for the Sox. It's a terrific success story in the making.
Daniel Bard has been lights out nearly all year long as the main Sox setup man (and should've made the all-star team) but let's not forget too that Alfredo Aceves has out-Tim Wakefield-ed Tim Wakefield as the effective swing pitcher on the Sox, as he has been a godsend as both a spot starter and a reliever (who has no problem pitching multiple innings when asked by Terry Francona).
Oh, and that offense? It's still the best in baseball, and is led by American League Player of the month of June Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the American League in multiple offensive categories and plays wherever he is asked to play, including right field during Boston's most recent trip to the National League cities for Interleague play. It was only for two games (and should've been at least for one more so David Ortiz could get more at-bats, but Francona was understandably cautious in giving Gonzalez starts in right field so David Ortiz could get starts at first base on NL fields in Philly and Houston).