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Rangers, Cubs rained out

Caption
(Paul Beaty)
Wrigley Field appears after a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers was called due to rain in Chicago, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty

CHICAGO – The Cubs are off to a 4-9 start and have lost three straight games. Alfonso Soriano is still looking for his first RBI of the season.

But the seven-time All-Star figures there is plenty of time for both him and the Cubs to come around.

“I hope it’s like the weather,” Soriano said. “We’ve had a bad 13 games but we change it around because it’s early. ... I hope we can turn it around and be a better team.”

The game between the Cubs and Texas Rangers scheduled for Wednesday night was rained out. It was postponed two hours before it was supposed to start at Wrigley Field. No makeup date was announced. The teams are set to play this afternoon.

The Cubs will send Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Carlos Villanueva, to the mound against Alexi Ogando. Texas will skip Wednesday’s scheduled starter, Justin Grimm.

Jeff Samardzija will pitch Friday for the Cubs and Edwin Jackson goes Saturday in Milwaukee, where the Cubs begin a 10-game road trip.

Villanueva hopes to stop the Cubs’ skid. The Cubs are 2-8 in their last 10 games and have been stung by a bullpen that’s blown four of its seven save opportunities.

Defensively, the Cubs have also struggled. The 11 errors they’ve committed were tied for third-most in the majors.

None of this has been helped by the raw weather at Wrigley Field. The game-time temperature Tuesday night was 39 degrees with the wind blowing in off nearby Lake Michigan.

“This has probably been a little exceptional as far as not being able to get on the field, and then when we’ve been on the field it’s been pretty miserable work conditions, too,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said it was worse than the conditions he’s endured across town at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox play.

“I can tell you what, we’ve been on the south side when it’s cold, but it’s not the same cold on the north side,” Washington said.

Even with the rough weather, the rare trip to Wrigley was still a special one for many Rangers.

“You’re going to deal with that,” first baseman Mitch Moreland said. “The Wrigley part of it kind of overshadows the weather.”

After going 61-101 in 2012 to lose 100 games or more for the first time since 1966, the Cubs had been banking on a better starting rotation to keep them competitive.

The rotation has been better. It owns a 3.20 ERA through 13 games and has held opponents to a .216 batting average.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, that hasn’t been enough to overcome other problems.

“We are off to a slower start than we would’ve liked,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Tuesday. “Some sloppy play that we need to eradicate sooner than later.”

Soriano, meanwhile, sees some positives.

“We play hard all the time and I think we just need a little bit more and we’ll be fine because all of those games that we lost, we (had) a chance to win those games,” he said. “It’s not like the other team beat us. It’s like close games, and I think we need just a little hit and make one pitch, and I think we’ll be fine.”

NOTES: Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was at Wrigley Field for a visit. Zambrano is currently a free agent. ... Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is batting .357 during a nine-game hitting streak. ... The Rangers have won nine of their last 10 interleague games. They’ve won their last six series against National League teams since dropping two of three to the Marlins in July 2011.

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