"This road trip is huge, make no bones about it," manager Dan Jennings said. "The guys know it. They know what's at stake."
The Marlins are at a point where they are not just playing for the rest of the season, they are evaluating what they have heading toward the future. The organization has maintained it wants to keep its core together, meaning most of the players under control through at least 2016.
Veteran starters Mat Latos and Dan Haren, both free agents after the season, are targets of possible trades.
So there is an urgency to track in a positive direction, even if reaching the playoffs is remote.
The task hasn't been made easier due to injuries to All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton (broken left hand) and Dee Gordon (dislocated left thumb). Both remain about two weeks away from returning.
"When you sit back and look at 162, no game is more important than any game," Jennings said. "But where we are right now, the hole that we dug for ourselves, the momentum we had coming out of the first half, this is huge."
The Marlins have yet to see what their roster looks like with all the main pieces together. Stanton, Gordon and Jose Fernandez, who opened the season on the disabled list, and Opening Day starter Henderson Alvarez, currently on the DL, haven't been healthy at the same time.
Barring any further setbacks, the complete squad should be intact in August. By then, it may be too late to save 2015. But there still is plenty to play for regarding the future.
"It's time for us to start to play our best baseball," Jennings said. "I truly don't believe that we've done that as a ballclub. Now is the time to step forward and do that."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.