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Talented young core doing big things for Astros

Bregman, Correa, Altuve, Springer performing like seasoned vets in clutch
October 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman would remember what shortstop Carlos Correa told him.It's your time.Tonight, we might amend that line to something more appropriate for the Houston Astros.It's their time.• Dress for the World Series: Get Astros postseason gear:: World Series presented by YouTube TV: Complete coverage ::Bregman's

LOS ANGELES -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman would remember what shortstop Carlos Correa told him.
It's your time.
Tonight, we might amend that line to something more appropriate for the Houston Astros.
It's their time.
• Dress for the World Series: Get Astros postseason gear
:: World Series presented by YouTube TV: Complete coverage ::
Bregman's run-scoring single in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Astros a 13-12 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in Houston.
The Astros lead the Series 3-2 and are a game away from winning the Fall Classic for their first time. They go for the clincher tonight in Game 6 at Dodger Stadium.
Here's the thing about that conversation between Bregman and Correa that gets to the heart of who these Astros are.
In Game 5 of the World Series, with the score tied and the world watching, it was a 23-year-old offering encouragement to a fellow 23-year-old.
That's the larger story of the Astros. They're not just really good. Their core guys are still really young, too.
To accomplish what they've accomplished speaks volumes, not just about their talent, but about their maturity, poise and a long list of other things.
Baseball seasons do more than reveal strengths and expose weaknesses. Players are tested both physically and mentally. That's true of veterans who've been through it before and especially true of young players who are still figuring things out.
The Astros stayed the course early in the season when they looked nearly unbeatable, and they stayed the course late when they lost 19 of 30 at one point. George Springer, Correa and Jose Altuve were all starters for the American League All-Star team, and Bregman is on his way to joining them.
For sure, the Astros do have important veteran players, such as Brian McCann, Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton and Carlos Beltran.
But right there at the top of the lineup, the four players manager A.J. Hinch builds his lineup around are between 22 and 27.
Hinch has had no way of knowing how this trip through October baseball would go, but the one thing he has consistently said is that his guys will not be overwhelmed.
"I know who we are," he said, "and I know the moment will not become too large."

They feed off one another, challenge one another and almost surely make one another better. When Altuve was asked about his three-hit game on Sunday, he said Correa had helped.
"You want to know something?" Altuve said. "Most of the things I do out there is because of him, believe it or not. It's hard to believe because he's just 23 years old. But let me tell you something: He's a leader inside the clubhouse. And what can I say? He's a superstar, and I'm really happy to have Carlos on my team. And not just as a teammate; he knows we're friends. And I hope that this relationship is for a long time."
Game 5 of the World Series might have been their finest hour -- at least until the next finest hour. Bregman has made this playoff run a personal showcase, from throwing out two runners at home plate to hitting a huge game-tying home run off Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning in Game 4, the AL Division Series clincher, against the Red Sox.
"He has this odd aura about him," Springer said of Bregman. "He's very, very confident. He has a plan, and when he puts his mind to something, I have all the confidence in the world in that guy. He dug in a little extra hard that last at-bat, and I could see it. He got the job done."
In Game 5 against the Dodgers on Sunday, the top four in the lineup -- Springer, Bregman, Altuve and Correa -- combined for 10 hits, 10 runs, three home runs, nine RBIs and four walks.

When Hinch was asked if there was anyone he'd rather have at the plate than Bregman with the game on the line, he said, "I want to say I'd rather have nobody else up there, but then I would be disrespecting Altuve and Correa and Springer and some guys who are really good hitters.
"[Bregman] is one of many who seem to feed off one another, and we trust him in the big moments because he's going to put up a good at-bat. And he's going to stay composed and get a good pitch to hit. More times than not, he feels like he's going to deliver, and that's hard to do at this level. He's certainly doing things that are special."
So are the others. So are the Astros.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.