DENVER -- Esmerling Vasquez has put together good stretches in the past.
The D-backs right-hander, who had a streak of four consecutive scoreless outings earlier this year, has not allowed a run in his past five games, a span of 4 2/3 innings.
"He's being more efficient with his pitches and keeping his delivery under control," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's kind of a hyper guy to begin with, and he really tried to explode at the end of his delivery, and when he does that his pitches elevate and out over the plate, and it gets him in trouble. He's just been more aggressive in the strike zone."
Those are the physical aspects of his turnaround, but there is a mental part as well that could be even more key to determining whether or not Vasquez can keep it going.
"His stuff is good enough, and for a young reliever it's hard to believe that until you've felt it for a while," Hinch said. "Every time he takes two steps forward, he takes one back. It's the evolution of a reliever with good stuff that's trying to solidify himself in the big leagues. I have a lot of belief and a lot of trust in him, and I hope that he's starting to get the confidence needed to put these strings together."
Drew showing signs of regaining 2008 form
DENVER -- Stephen Drew remembers what he felt like during his breakout 2008 season.
"I was really consistent and really hot at the same time," the D-backs shortstop said of the year he hit .291 with 44 doubles and 21 homers.
Drew went 2-for-4 on Wednesday with a double, pushing his batting average to .303. Drew also improved his on-base percentage to .365 and his slugging percentage to .497. Drew got on base at a .333 clip in 2008 and slugged .502.
"Compared to the good year I had in '08, I know that feeling and it's getting there," Drew said. "[I'm] waiting just to really get going. I've just been staying consistent all year, and that's what you want, but I haven't had a really hot week or two weeks. The name of the game is consistency, and that's what I strive for. Right now my swing feels OK."
"We joke with him a lot that he's the unluckiest hitter on our team," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "But I think that might be true. He's a factor in the lineup and he has a very efficient swing."
The one hole for Drew so far this year has been his performance against left-handed pitching. The lefty swinger is hitting .167 against southpaws. Last season, he hit .200 against them, but in 2008 it was .267.
"The only way to get better with that, or get more comfortable, is to face them," Hinch said. "He can hit them. He's hit them in the past."
Drew will get more looks at lefties in the short term with backup shortstop Tony Abreu on the 15-day DL with a sprained right wrist. Hinch had started Abreu, a right-handed hitter, against some of the league's tougher lefties.
Jackson doubling down against opponents
DENVER -- Conor Jackson has been double trouble of late for opposing pitchers.
The D-backs left fielder entered Wednesday's game having doubled in six consecutive games. Since May 14, eight of his nine hits have been doubles.
"Obviously, I'd like to string a few more multi-hit games in there," said Jackson. "Gap-to-gap is really the kind of hitter that I am and they're finding holes right now."
Jackson, who missed most of last season with Valley Fever, has not homered since April 14, 2009, a span of 170 at-bats heading into Wednesday. That was his lone homer of the year. His previous homer came on July 27, 2008, giving him one long ball over a span of 400 at-bats.
In the past, that kind of drought would have weighed on Jackson, but this year he seems more comfortable with the kind of hitter he is. It probably also helps that instead of hitting in the middle of the order as he had in the past, he has primarily hit first or second in the lineup.
"The type of hitter you are is the type of hitter you are," he said. "In the past, I've tried to hit home runs and it hasn't worked. It just brings me away from the type of hitter that I am. It is what it is. I try not to focus on other people's expectations. I'm my own worst critic."
Gutierrez's rough patch continues
DENVER -- Juan Gutierrez's latest meltdown has the D-backs wondering how to get the reliever back on track.
Gutierrez allowed three runs in just two-thirds of an inning Wednesday against the Rockies to raise his ERA for the season to 10.00.
"It's been a rough year so far," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't know if he's tipping pitches, if he's giving guys an open look. It seems like every mistake that he's thrown, they're hitting and hitting hard. It's frustrating for us. It's frustrating for him."
A trip to the Minors would no doubt have happened by now if Gutierrez were not out of Minor League options. If the D-backs were to try and send him down, they would have to place him on waivers and, despite his unseemly ERA, it's hard to believe that with the dearth of relievers out there, another team would not claim him.
After all, Gutierrez does have nasty stuff and a fastball in the mid 90s.
"I mean, he was very successful last season and gave up one hit in Spring Training and was probably the hottest pitcher coming out of camp," Hinch said. "But six weeks in, he's wearing it pretty rough right now."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.