PHILADELPHIA -- Its been as if someone flipped the switch to on for the Philadelphia Phillies while the Atlanta Braves dial has been stuck in off for the majority of the season.The bottom two teams in the NL East, the Phillies and Braves open a three-game series in Philadelphia on Monday. They are one week removed from a much-needed All-Star break to regroup... except the Phillies may not want to stop playing anytime soon.After battling offensive ineptitude for about 75 games, the Phillies bats have come alive, and it has fueled a 5-1 stretch.I dont know exactly whats happened. I just know we had it in us, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said following Sundays 7-2 win over Kansas City. I always felt even for the first two months that we were a better hitting team than it showed and it was kind of an enigma as to why we werent hitting better. It just took a little time.The individual numbers have really turned around as of late. Maikel Franco has been on a torrid stretch that has seen him record multiple hits in five of his last six games. He has also reached base safely in 11 of the last 12 contests. The third basemen ripped a home run on Sunday to cap off a 3-for-4 day.Cameron Rupp also hit a home run in that game. He is on an eight-game hitting streak that has been highlighted by his last two outings in which he has gone a combined 5-for-8 with three RBI and two doubles. Cody Asche also hit a home run in their latest victory. Likewise, Peter Bourjos singled to extend his hit streak to 12 games.It helps when youve got a guy like Bourjos, who came out of nowhere up to .270, Mackanin said. Thats an unbelievable story in itself. I think the other players feed off things like that. You know, its like, Well I can do it, too. I know thats not a scientific answer, but its the best I can do.No explanation needed. Its apparent that the Phillies are trending upward as the All-Star break looms.Meanwhile, the Braves really have yet to get going, which has led to a forgettable first half. They put together a six-game winning streak in the middle of June but came back down to reality by losing six of eight games immediately afterward.Their problems run the full gamut. The pitching has been unreliable while the hitting has been streaky. The have also had some bad luck.On Saturday, the Braves tied the Marlins in the ninth inning with a Tyler Flowers home run. In the 12th inning, the game-winning hit was delivered by pinch-hitter Jose Fernandez, the Miami pitcher. Things like that only add salt to the wounds.It was eventful, Flowers said, according to MLB.com. I thought we battled well... I think there were a lot of positives to take away. We just couldnt come up with the big hit at the end.That could very well sum up the Braves season: eventful yet left helpless at the end. Wholesale Lions Jerseys Online . Barcelona also left injured defenders Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba out of its squad for the trip to Glasgow. That means that Marc Bartra will probably start again in the centre of the defence alongside Gerard Pique. Kerry Hyder Jersey . - The Oakland Raiders re-signed offensive lineman Khalif Barnes on Friday. http://www.cheaplionsjerseyssale.com/?tag=matthew-stafford-jersey-sale . -- Devin Hester is done returning kicks in Chicago. Glover Quin Jersey . Takahashi, who had a 10-point lead after the short program, received 268.31 points after the free skate to finish 15 points ahead of second-place Nobunari Oda. Golden Tate III Jersey . Now that hes hitting streaking teammates with pin-point passes for easy layups, Love is asserting himself as one of the true superstars in the league. Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Monday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EDT:- CHICAGO -- Carson Wentz, the North Dakota State quarterback and No. 2 overall draft pick, looks to build on a strong debut when the Philadelphia Eagles meet Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. Game starts 8:30 p.m.- From the top of the NFL to the bottom of the heap, injuries have struck key players after two weeks: Adrian Peterson, Jimmy Garoppolo, DeMarcus Ware, Josh McCown, Danny Woodhead, Jonathan Stewart and Arian Foster.- Vikings coach Mike Zimmers made the right call, starting Sam Bradford over Shaun Hill at quarterback. Bradford outplayed Aaron Rodgers in an impressive debut to lead Minnesota over the Green Bay Packers.- LOS ANGELES -- Vin Scully begins his final homestand for the Dodgers on Monday night. The 88-year-old Hall of Famer will call games against the Giants and Rockies before concluding his record 67 years in the booth with a road trip.- PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow is wearing No. 15 again and working out at the Mets instructional league team, beginning in earnest his football-to-baseball career switch.- LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw (11-3) starts for the first-place Dodgers against the Giants Madison Bumgarner (14-9) in an excellent matchup of left-handers. San Francisco holds the second NL wild-card spot. Game starts 10 p.m.- BALTIMORE -- The first-place Boston Red Sox go with Rick Porcello (20-4) against the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a four-game series betweeen the top two teams in the AL East.dddddddddddd Game starts 7:05 p.m.- When Alabama trailed by 21 points it looked as if college football poll voters might have to start from scratch. Not quite. The Crimson Tide rallied, and in the end it was only Louisville that truly entered the national title conversation.- Coming off back-to-back 200-yard games, San Diego States Donnel Pumphrey has built a comfortable lead on the national rushing chart. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is second at nearly 155.- TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jalen Hurts and No. 1 Alabama were anything but perfect against Mississippi. Now the question is whether the Crimson Tide and the freshman quarterback grow from the experience.- CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson thinks the rout of South Carolina State did the fifth-ranked Tigers good -- and at exactly the right time. Clemson starts ACC play Thursday night at Georgia Tech.- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After one of the worst losses in school history, No. 13 Florida State needs to fix glaring problems on defense and offensive line if it is to have any hope of salvaging the season.- TORONTO -- Two World Cup of Hockey games: Czech Republic vs. Europe (3 p.m.) and North America vs. Russia (8 p.m.).- SONOMA, Calif. -- No team came close to stopping Team Penskes march to the top of the standings. That dominance overshadowed a season that showed promise for IndyCars future. 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