LOS ANGELES - The Mets' search for a solid lefthanded reliever began in spring training when Josh Edgin suffered an elbow injury, prompting a trade for the Nationals' Jerry Blevins.

It continued when Blevins suffered a season-ending arm injury. The Mets acquired Eric O'Flaherty and promoted Dario Alvarez, but neither made the postseason roster.

So against a Dodgers lineup filled with potent lefthanded hitters, the Mets will begin their first postseason run in nine years Friday night without a lefty specialist in the bullpen. "We'll be OK,'' Terry Collins said.

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Starter-turned-reliever Jonathon Niese, the only lefthander in the Mets' bullpen, is not a prototypical one-batter specialist.

Instead, the Mets' best weapon against lefthanded hitters is righty setup man Tyler Clippard, who has held them to a .137 average. He has limited lefthanded-hitting Chase Utley, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to a .200 average (7-for-35).

"If we get to Tyler Clippard, I kind of like where we're sitting,'' Collins said. "So I'm not concerned about it. This guy has plus stuff against lefthanded hitters.''

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Clippard posted a 0.60 ERA in August but had a 6.41 ERA in the season's final month.

"September wasn't the greatest month for me,'' he said. "But the last week and a half or so, I feel very, very good with how I've been throwing.''

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Southern California native Travis d'Arnaud watched playoff games at Dodger Stadium when he was growing up. "Now I'm going to be on the field and in the dugout with the guys,'' the Mets catcher said. To this day, d'Arnaud said that when he walks into Dodger Stadium, he feels "like I'm home.'' . . . Wilmer Flores showed improvement from the strep throat that slowed him at the end of the regular season. He's expected to be available off the bench.