Greg Dobbs remembers what it was like playing for the Phillies in 2008 and 2009. Back then, the Phillies crushed the Nationals. That was the difference between winning five straight division titles and finishing second, like the Braves did from 2007 to 2011.
The Braves played .500 ball against what was a lowly Nationals squad. The Phillies were 23 games over .500 against the Nats during that half-decade run.
"We beat up on Washington and that was a big reason for the Phillies' success," Dobbs said. "We never took them lightly. We were serious and we won a lot of games against them and that enabled us to finish on top of the division."
The Phillies need to take advantage Miami. The woebegone Marlins have somehow won a quarter of their games against Charlie Manuel's squad.
"You have to play hard against the Marlins," Ben Revere said. "They have a lot of good young players on that team. You can't afford to take them lightly."
The Marlins are playing with a chip on their shoulder.
"Not a lot of people think we can win," Dobbs said. "We're out there to prove them wrong every game."
It couldn't have been more different for Dobbs when he played for the Phillies.
"People expected us to win and we did," Dobbs said. "It was special being around that environment. I had a good time with the Phillies but it's a good time now as well with the Marlins."
If the Phillies expect to challenge for a postseason berth, they need beat the Marlins — over and over again.
"You never know if one game will be the difference between making the playoffs and missing the playoffs," Revere said. " So you need to win as much as possible. I take the Marlins very seriously and so does everyone else on this club."