The Miami Marlins begin a nine-game road trip which should go a long way in determining whether they'll remain in the National League wild-card race with the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Friday. Miami, which is coming off a 6-3 homestand, is four games behind San Francisco for the final wild-card spot, but must also pass Atlanta and Pittsburgh to reach the postseason for the first time since 2003. "Obviously we've played well enough to put ourselves in a position to make the last six weeks of the season matter, which is all you can ask for right now," Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich told dropped out of playoff contention long ago, but has shown signs of life by going 4-2 in the first six contests of its nine-game homestand. The Rockies are in a position to evaluate some of their young talent including first baseman Matt McBride, who hit a grand slam in Wednesday's 5-2 victory over Kansas City - his second game since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Miami's Henderson Alvarez made a sharp return from the disabled list by winning his third straight start and opposes fellow Venezuelan Franklin Morales, who continues to bounce back and forth between the bullpen and rotation.TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), ROOT (Colorado)PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Henderson Alvarez (9-5, 2.43 ERA) vs. Rockies LH Franklin Morales (5-6, 5.04)Alvarez returned after missing two-plus weeks with shoulder inflammation and allowed one run and five hits while striking out six in seven innings of a 2-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday. "I'm just trying to do my best for me and for my team," the 24-year-old told "I'll keep battling until the end, think positive and move forward." Alvarez, who boasts the fourth-lowest ERA in the NL, lost 6-5 to Colorado on April 2 when he allowed six runs (three earned) over three innings.Morales' last appearance came in relief, when he allowed two runs and three hits in two innings of Colorado's 10-9 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. The 28-year-old is 4-6 with a 5.15 ERA in 17 starts this season - including a no-decision Aug. 10 when he yielded three runs (two earned) in six innings of Colorado's 5-3 victory at Arizona. Morales received a no-decision in Colorado's 8-5 loss in Miami on April 3 after allowing three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 frames.WALK-OFFS1. Yelich is 19-for-37 during a nine-game hitting streak for Miami, which won three of four meetings March 31-April 3 and has not lost a season series with Colorado since 2008.2. Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado (.298, 13 homers, 50 RBIs in 90 games) is 11-for-24 with two home runs, four RBIs and six runs scored on the homestand.3. The Marlins play the first-place Los Angeles Angels from Monday-Wednesday before concluding their trip with three games against Atlanta (Aug. 29-31).PREDICTION: Marlins 3, Rockies 2