Spence focused on throwing quality strikes

Spence focused on throwing quality strikes

LOS ANGELES -- Lost in Saturday's power display by Matt Kemp were the two scoreless innings of work from Padres left-handed reliever Josh Spence.

Better still was Spence's ball-strike ratio in the outing: 25 pitches and 18 strikes, as he allowed one hit with no walks and one strikeout.

"It's not just about throwing strikes but it's about throwing quality strikes," Spence said. "I'm just trying to get ahead of the hitters. Part of the reason I think I'm part of his bullpen is that I don't walk guys. ... I think I got away from that a little last year."

Spence, 24, was promoted from Double-A San Antonio last June and retired the first 11 batters that he faced and also retired the first batter he faced in each of his first 15 appearances.

Spence ran into trouble in the month of August when he walked 11 batters in 11 innings.

"He burst onto the scene and had success but by the end of the season, the walk had come into play and the ball-strike ratio wasn't where he wanted it," said Padres manager Bud Black.

"We talked about that this spring, about being a little more consistent with his stuff in the strike zone. I think last night [Saturday] was a great example of that."