By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox haven’t been particularly great as of late. The team has been fairly average since sweeping the Yankees a few weeks ago, going 7-6 in their four series (with one make-up game) since that magical weekend in New York.

In their last 10 games, the Red Sox are sporting a 6.24 ERA and have been outscored by nine runs. It hasn’t been pretty.

But the Tampa Bay Rays are scuffling even worse, having dropped six straight heading into this three-game set with the Sox in St. Petersburg. The Tampa tumble has allowed Boston to jump into first place in the AL East by half a game.

The Tampa offense has nearly disappeared during the losing streak, so the Red Sox will be the first team to see top prospect Wander Franco in Major League action. The Rays called up the 20-year-old shortstop on Monday in hopes of sparking the offense. Franco hit .315 with seven homers in 39 games for Triple-A Durham this season.

Here’s a look at the pitching matchups for what should be an entertaining — and important — three-game set for both teams:

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.21 ERA) vs. Andrew Kittredge (5-1, 1.34 ERA)

It has not been pretty for Rodriguez for a while. The lefty has made it into the sixth inning just once in his last five outings, averaging just 4.2 innings. He has surrendered at least three runs in each of those starts. He has yet to pitch against the Rays this season.

Kittredge is making just his third start of the season on Tuesday, and the Sox probably won’t see him for too long. He hasn’t pitched more than two innings in any of his 25 appearances. The righty has been great in June, allowing just two runs over his 9.1 innings with nine strikeouts.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.: Garrett Richards (4-4, 4.36 ERA) vs. Rich Hill (5-2, 3.64 ERA)

Boy does Richards need to get a good grip on his season. He’s been a mess since the Spider Tack controversy came out. After sporting a 2.97 ERA in May, Richards has a 5.75 ERA in four June starts. He’s given up 26 hits and 11 earned runs in 14.1 innings over his last three starts. Thanks to Boston’s offense though, the Red Sox have won all three of those games, but it would be really nice to see Richards pitch well again.

Bostonian Rich Hill will toe the rubber for the Rays on Wednesday night. He’s given up eight runs over his last 9.2 innings, including three long balls.

Thursday, 7:10 p.m.: Nick Pivetta (6-3, 4.36 ERA) vs. TBA

Pivetta hasn’t won a game since the end of May, going 0-3 in his last four starts. He started the month of June with six quality innings against the Astros, but has struggled to give the Sox five innings in his last three outings. The righty has pitched into the seventh inning just once in his 14 starts this season.

CBSBoston.com Staff