LOS ANGELES -- The grass was still green and the seats still yellow and blue, but without Vin Scully in his familiar seat behind the mic, for many Dodgers fans Chavez Ravine felt a bit empty in 2012 -- until Sunday.
Scully, the Hall of Famer who missed the first five games of the season with a nasty cold that doctors told him was "a click away from pneumonia," strolled into the Dodger Stadium press box Sunday saying he felt much better, but a little tired from the illness.
Missing his first Dodgers home opener in 35 years was "almost heartbreaking," and "an emotional uppercut," Scully said while talking with media before the game.
He reiterated how humbled he was by the outpouring of support he received.
"I was so angry at myself for missing Opening Day. I wanted to be here so badly, especially to see the '62 club, and I was so furious," Scully said. "Then I thought, well I didn't do anything to make myself sick, so I can be angry at the fates. Then, of course, I was full of disappointment. "
Scully, now in his 63rd year with the club, started feeling sick in San Diego a week ago, and he said he didn't get much sleep before he called last Sunday's game. That's when he knew he wouldn't be available for Tuesday's home opener, a Dodgers victory over Pittsburgh.
He said the most emotional moment for him was hearing the Dodger Stadium tribute to Scully, before the game, while he lay in bed with his face buried in a pillow.
"I thought, 'My gosh, they're opening up a season, and here they are saluting an announcer,'" Scully said. "I was overwhelmed. I had all kinds of emotions, many of which were humility thinking, 'I'm just another guy. I'm the most ordinary guy you've ever met, and here's this big deal.'"
Scully said he waited until Sunday to return for fear of relapse or catching something else with his immune system weakened.
"I kept thinking, 'OK, give me a nice sunny day in Dodger Stadium,'" Scully said. "I thought Sunday would be the day. In my own private little world, this is my Opening Day. I have [starting pitcher Clayton] Kershaw. Ain't no bad crowd to hang around with."
Then, Scully flashed his trademark brand of modesty, turning his attention toward the on-field product and wondering if the 2012 Dodgers could keep pace with the 1955 squad.
"Enough about me," he said with a laugh.
Lindblom impressing out of bullpen
LOS ANGELES -- Pitching with uncertainty is becoming Josh Lindblom's specialty.
The Dodgers right-hander doesn't have a set role in the bullpen, so he never knows when he'll be called upon, and he doesn't know just how secure his spot on the big league roster is because he has options available.
That's just fine with Lindblom, who hasn't surrendered a run and gave up just one hit in his six innings this season.
"When you feel good, those are times you can relax mentally on the mound," Lindblom said. "You aren't worrying about the pitch you just made or the pitch that you're going to make next. You're just worried about that pitch."
Lindblom's job with the Dodgers wasn't altered Saturday with Ted Lilly's return from a neck injury because Todd Coffey was placed on the DL in his place. Lindblom has played an important part in the success of the Dodgers bullpen this season.
"It's really just been the same as the end of last year -- just come in and attack," Lindblom said. "I just come in, and trust my stuff and just execute, not really do anything out of my ability."
Catcher A.J. Ellis said Lindblom's mix of pitches is what makes him so tough to hit. With a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup that he feels comfortable with, Lindblom is "kind of like having a starter's mix coming out of the bullpen," Ellis said.
"He's pitching with a lot of confidence right now," Ellis said. "The key to Josh is all the different weapons he has."
Mattingly surprised by LA's record, not play
LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly understands the law of averages.
The Dodgers manager knows his club can't win eight of nine games for the rest of the season, as they have to start the 2012 campaign 8-1 -- the best record in baseball.
But what he isn't surprised by is the way his team has capitalized on the chances they've been given.
"Things have kind of bounced our way a little bit," Mattingly said. "We've gotten the outs that we've needed, we've gotten the hits that we needed to basically be able to sustain it."
The Dodgers are off to their best start since they began 9-1 in 1981, before eventually winning the World Series. They are also the last remaining one-loss club for the first time since 1955 -- the franchise's first title.
"Any time you come out 8-1, it's a little bit of a surprise," Mattingly said. "You're going to lose some games in there. We've had close games, they could have went either way a couple of them."
AJ Cassavell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.