ARLINGTON -- The Angels' pitching staff, like the rest of the team, has made a drastic turnaround over these last five weeks, which can only bode well for the future of pitching coach Mike Butcher.
On Aug. 22, the Angels ranked 29th in the Majors with a staff ERA of 4.49.
Since then -- a span that has seen the club reel off 23 wins in 33 games -- the staff boasts a 3.16 mark that ranks fourth in baseball, lowering their ERA for the season to a 21st-ranked 4.21. With the season winding down, and the job security of the Angels' front office and coaching staff perceivably in limbo, that may pay huge dividends for the Angels' seventh-year pitching coach.
"It's funny, I've never coached to cover my [butt] -- never have, never will," said Butcher, who's under contract through at least 2015. "I do my job, and the guys have to go out there and perform at a high level. We started off a little bit rough. And we've been pitching well, especially late. I think a lot of it has to do with just pure health. When you lose a Jered Weaver early in the season, you lose a Tommy Hanson for seven or eight weeks, you lose Jason Vargas for seven or eight weeks. It's the same song and dance, but health has a big way of bringing a staff together."
Butcher's job has been made especially difficult in 2013, with Hanson and Joe Blanton struggling to transition to the American League, Vargas and Weaver missing a combined 18 or so starts with fluky injuries, and Sean Burnett (13 appearances) and Ryan Madson (zero) also missing time. The Angels have used 26 pitchers this year, which is three shy of the club record set in 1999.
"It's not something I even want to talk about," Butcher said of his job security. "I do my job. I love my job, I do my job. I think my track record speaks for itself."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.