DENVER -- Josh Lindblom made the Opening Day roster only because of Ted Lilly's neck injury, but he's now become a key setup man in the Dodgers bullpen with the subsequent injury to Matt Guerrier. Lindblom has the third-lowest ERA in the National League at 0.66 and has appeared in half of the Dodgers' 22 games. Although his effectiveness is a continuation of his solid debut in the second half last year (2.73 ERA in 27 games), that wasn't enough to stop management from going the veteran route in the winter by signing free agents Todd Coffey and Jamey Wright with the anticipated losses of Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo.
Although the sample size is small, Lindblom has shown dramatic improvement against left-handed hitters, who batted .370 against him in 27 at-bats last year and .158 in 19 at-bats this year. "He barely makes the club and ends up the long man, and now he's getting quality outs in the eighth after we lose Guerrier," said manager Don Mattingly. "He just attacks the zone. He gave up a home run the other night, and the next three guys he went right after them. He's pitching with confidence. He's a smart guy who can throw strikes. He follows a game plan. We know who to get people out, but you've got to get the ball there and he can."