The Red Sox began the week four games out of first place. It’s the furthest back they’ve been since April 12, when they were 3-4 after seven games.

It has been an all-out June swoon for the Sox, who have lost six of their last eight games after Monday’s 13-7 loss at Tampa Bay. It easily could’ve been an eight-game losing streak, considering both wins were comebacks triggered by late-game offensive surges.

That offense, which has still scored more runs than any team in baseball, isn’t good enough to cover up the blemishes of the pitching staff. No offense is. Hitting is the only reason the Sox are in contention as we approach the midway point of the season.

It’s time now to address the pitching.

The starting rotation may have hit a low point over the weekend in Texas. On Friday, David Price gave up 12 hits in just 21/3 innings, a short start that was forgotten in the wake of the late-game comeback. On Saturday, Steven Wright didn’t make it through the fifth inning, giving up eight runs in a 10-3 loss. Only five of the runs were earned, so Wright’s ERA remained the lowest in the league at 2.18.

On Sunday, Clay Buchholz was asked to give the bullpen a rest with a deep start. After one inning, no one thought that was possible. Buchholz gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in the first, yet settled down to pitch deeper into the game than any other starter on the weekend.

Not that it was a good start. Buchholz gave up five runs in 51/3 innings. It was the fifth time in 12 starts this season he’s given up at least five runs. After this latest start, Manager John Farrell essentially admitted Buchholz will likely stay in the rotation, primarily because the team has so few options.

We are just over a month away from the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, but the pressure is mounting on Dave Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations, to make a trade. Through April and May, Red Sox fans jumped aboard a bandwagon that was pretty empty after back-to-back last-place seasons. The team is in danger of losing all that goodwill, as ugly pitching performances lead to ugly losses.

It seemed a three-game series with the Rays is just what the doctor ordered. But Tampa Bay ended an 11-game losing streak on Monday night, roughing up Eduardo Rodriguez for five runs in the first inning and nine runs in a 22/3 innings.

And Kevin Cash’s team is 10 games under .500.

Weak opponents won’t be enough to cure what ails the starting rotation. Reinforcements are needed. It seems clear that internal options like Henry Owens and Roenis Elias won’t get it done. And now the entire rotation is struggling – through the Texas series, Sox starters had given up at least four runs in each of the last five starts.

We’ve been talking about the need for pitching help all year. Now, the call for support is reaching a crescendo.

We’ll have to wait to see if other GMs are willing to listen to Dombrowski’s offers as we roll into July.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.