Frustration has officially taken hold of the Pelicans - at least when they play Salem.
Myrtle Beach struggled through its Independence Day matchup with the Red Sox before eventually losing 10-4 at BB&T Coastal Field. Starting pitcher Matt Crim was hammered for nine runs while the Pelican's league-worst offense did next to nothing against another Salem pitcher.
Like the night earlier with Pelicans ace Julio Teheran gave up four walks, Crim's first bit of trouble came via free passes.
"You can't beat guys when you're walking guys," manager Rocket Wheeler said. "We gotta make 'em hit the ball. Thing is, the walks hurt because you put them on in front, and that's when it takes off."
The loss dropped the Birds' season record against Salem to 1-11. The teams are scheduled to play each other eight more times this season, including the second half of this series today and Tuesday.
Whether it gets any better from here, though, will rely on Myrtle Beach getting an all-around better effort. That didn't happen Sunday.
It started with the walks.
Salem began to make its mark against Crim in the fourth inning, when the left-hander walked and then hit the first two batters he faced. The third batter, Will Middlebrooks, knocked a line drive to the right-center wall, bringing home two runs.
An inning later, it only got worse for Crim and the Pelicans.
Each of the first six Salem hitters reached base. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway - the Red Sox cleanup hitter - brought home two with a double, and Middlebrooks then struck again, this time with an RBI single.
By the time the inning was over, Crim was charged with seven runs in the frame and the Birds trailed 9-1. Myrtle Beach's league-worst offense was in a hole it had little chance to dig out of.
For Crim, it was another in a recent string of disheartening outings. Since he struck out a career-high nine batters against Kinston on June 11, Crim has been dinged for 24 runs in four starts. Several of those runs were unearned, especially during a June 29 game against Lynchburg in which four of his six allowed runs came via errors.
Just the same, dropping to 4-8 and watching his ERA climb to 4.87 wasn't what he had in mind for his July 4th trip to the mound.
It was, however, in line with his other starts against the Red Sox this season. In four starts against Salem this season, Crim is now 0-3.
"We gotta get better at commanding our pitches," Wheeler said, "all the way through."