Belief isn’t enough, except to the Astros

The Astros celebrate after putting the Red Sox to bed for the season Monday . . .

The Astros celebrate after putting the Red Sox to bed for the season Monday . . .

For a few moments it looked as though Astros manager A.J. Hinch made a big mistake in the bottom of the fifth in Fenway Park Monday. With one out and one on for the Red Sox, he brought in Justin Verlander, his Game One starter and winner—who’d never thrown an inning of relief in his life until now.

Later, in the bottom of the ninth, it looked like Hinch made a mistake asking closer Ken Giles for a six-out save when Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers stepped up to the plate to lead off.

The hardware chronicles, 2016 continued . . .

Uncontroversial NL MVP Bryant . . .

Uncontroversial NL MVP Bryant . . .

Concerning the rest of Hardware Week, a few sobering observations:

* Kris Bryant, the National League’s MVP, was a no-questions-asked solid pick. And yes, it’s rare that a guy follows a Rookie of the Year campaign with an MVP and a World Series ring. Maybe the¬†least¬†controversial award pick this year was Bryant. But if they’d given the award to one player across the board, Bryant would probably have finished second to Trout. And there’s no shame in that.

Hold Those Tigers

Jim Leyland was emphatic enough. Seeing Justin Verlander on the mound again this postseason was going to be the best thing, he said, because it would come in the World Series. As for the rest of the American League Championship Series, Verlander wouldn’t even be a topic.

Not in the Detroit Tigers’ manager’s mind, anyway. And it proved a moot point after the game, gutsy, but gimpy Tigers took one of the worst elimination beatings in postseason history in Arlington Saturday night.