Alvarez eyes fourth straight win at Coors

( - Neither balls, nor strikes, nor brief stints on the disabled list have kept Miami's Henderson Alvarez from his appointed role this season -- staff ace.

The 24-year-old right-hander aims for a fourth consecutive winning start on Friday night when the Marlins head to Coors Field to open a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies.

Alvarez was anointed the No. 1 man on the Miami rotation after Jose Fernandez was shelved for the season in May, and, aside from being absent in the first half of this month with shoulder inflammation, he's filled the role more than admirably.

He's 3-0 since returning from the disabled list, held Arizona to just one run in seven innings of a 2-1 win on Saturday and has limited foes to no more than two runs in 13 of his last 14 starts.

The Marlins have won 12 of those games.

Alvarez's lone start against the Rockies was a little more difficult, however. He gave up six runs in three-plus innings in a 6-5 loss that was part of the season-opening series between the teams in April.

More recently, Miami has won eight of 12 games to get into contention for a National League wild card playoff spot.

On the flip side, the Rockies have the worst record in the NL, but they've won four of their last six games at home while scoring 38 runs and hitting .307 as a team.

Franklin Morales gets the ball in a starting role for the third time this month.

He's got a 5.15 earned run average in 17 starts this season, but has been better recently -- paring the ERA down to 3.31 in his last six outings.

He faced the Marlins on April 3 and allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings of a game Miami ultimately won, 8-5.

Miami took three of four from the Rockies to start the season.