PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has played on good teams, he's played on bad teams and one thing has always been the same.
"The starters always hang together," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a good team or a bad team, the starters hang together."
But Gibson said in the next breath, "I would probably say [the D-backs' pitchers this year are] more in tune with the rest of the team than most staffs I've been around."
And from competing on the mound to competing at the plate, where dinner is at stake each month, the results have been obvious.
"They have a level of expectation, no question," Gibson said. "They understand the importance of their execution to the gameplan."
Those levels of expectation have started with right-handers Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the rotation.
Kennedy, with 17 wins and Hudson, with 13 wins, lead a group of young starters whose veteran presence is 30-year-old Joe Saunders.
"I think the age factor helps," Kennedy said. "Everybody else is in their mid-20's, and I think in the Minor Leagues you feel that way, too.
"Usually when you get to the big leagues, guys are a lot of different ages."