The Red Sox enter the season’s second half exactly where they were scripted to be: In first place with the best record in the American League, riding a six-game winning streak.



The journey there was hardly by the book, though: The Sox opened the season 2-10. And as Boston prepares to open the second half tomorrow night against the Rays, their hold on the AL East — and a postseason berth — is tenuous, as the same injury bug that decimated the 2010 season threatens again.



To that end, Josh Beckett didn’t pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game after experiencing more difficulty with his hyperextended left knee warming up.



Beckett presented a picture of calm, saying he could have pitched had it been a regular-season game. But with one starter (Daisuke Matsuzaka) done for the year and two more (Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester) also on the DL with tricky injuries, the Sox can ill afford to lose more hurlers.



Boston has gotten nice lifts from starters old (Tim Wakefield) and young (Andrew Miller), and even the punching bag known as John Lackey offered a glimmer of second-half hope with his outing against Baltimore last Saturday.



But they will require a healthy Beckett, Lester and Buchholz to keep the Rays and Yankees at arm’s length.