The Washington Times - April 19, 2009, 02:55PM

The Nationals have a 2-1 lead after three innings here, though early leads haven’t done them a whole lot of good the last two days. They’ve shown again they’re much more capable of setting up a big inning than they were last year. At some point, though, they’re going to have to start getting four or five runs in the innings where they wind up with two.

They’ve left the bases loaded twice in the first three innings, getting five of the first six hitters aboard safely in the first inning. But Jesus Flores struck out and Alberto Gonzalez grounded back to the pitcher. As a team, the Nationals are 4-for-23 this year with the bases loaded—and that includes two hits today.

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That duo failed to come through again in the third, with Flores again striking out. The Nationals have to be a little bit puzzled his progression has slowed as much as it has. He’s hitting .233 this year, and is a 2-for-12 mark with men on base and 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. He hit .294 with men on base last year and batted .370 with runners in scoring position. Maybe this is just a slump, but it’s a little bit concerning.