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About Alex Speier

Before he joined WEEI.com, Alex covered the Red Sox for several New England and national publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, Boston Metro, Boston Herald and Baseball America. Alex graduated from Harvard, where he served as the captain of the debate team, an experience that has been of surprisingly little use in press boxes across the country.

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08/19/14 08:51 EST
The question isn't unreasonable, and there have been times where some Red Sox officials have at least mulled it, even if the answer came down on the side of a resounding no: Why not send down Xander Bogaerts? After all, the demotion of Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket brought into sharp relief Bogaerts' struggles. Bradley was hitting .216 with a .288 OBP and .290 slugging mark, whiffing in 28 percent of his plate appearances, when the Sox optioned him to the PawSox after Sunday's game. Bogaerts, meanwhile, is hitting .226/.293/.339 while striking out in 24 percent of his plate appearances. So why isn't Bogaerts with Bradley in Triple-A at this point? A few reasons, but it's worth starting with one of the most glaring: The Red Sox have a potential 2015 Opening Day center field alternative to Bradley in their system in the form of Mookie Betts. The team needs a) to figure out if Bradley can hit against pitching in the big leagues, with the hope that a stint in the minors
08/18/14 08:26 EST
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David Ortiz's home runs represent more than milestones. At a stage of his career when virtually every long ball carries some kind of historic significance, whether in Red Sox annals or the all-time home run list, the 38-year-old is doing more than putting some final notches in his belt on the way to retirement. Instead, a case can be made that the Red Sox lineup relies more heavily, more singularly on one player for offense than any other team. Consider: Ortiz leads the major leagues in RBIs on a team that ranks last in the American League and 24th in the majors in runs scored. He's driven in 91 of the team's 475 runs (19.2 percent), the highest percentage of any team's runs driven in by a single player in the big leagues. He's hit 28 of the team's 92 homers (30.4 percent), accounting for the second-highest percentage of a team's homers by any player (behind only Mike Stanton, who has hit 32 percent of the Marlins' homers) in the majors this year. In other words, the importance of Ortiz in
08/13/14 06:54 EST
Yoenis Cespedes has wasted little time to give a glimpse of why the Red Sox made their move for him at the trade deadline. The slugging outfielder blasted his second eighth-inning homer in as many games on Tuesday, walloping a fastball 433 feet to straightway center, to propel the Sox to a 3-2 win over the Reds. The Red Sox have won their last two games by scoring a total of six runs. Cespedes has accounted for five of them with his two homers. Suffice it to say that his impact has not gone unobserved by his new team. "It's a middle of the order bat. Gives us a certain presence in the middle of the order, and a much needed one," manager John Farrell told reporters after Tuesday's win. "And he’s shown on all sides of the baseball that he’s a complete player. Having that ability to change the game with one swing of the bat is important for us." The Sox acquired Cespedes with the idea that he can contribute to a thicker middle of the order next year. The team
08/12/14 09:54 EST
"Shoulda been a Ray." Joe Maddon offered the assessment of Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt with a smirk last month, a nod to a player's head-turning skill set that had previously gone overlooked. Tampa Bay has spent years cultivating players with roster-altering versatility, and in Holt, Maddon saw precisely such a player. "I love the guy. He's just fantastic," said Maddon. "He plays everywhere well. Plays with an eagerness that's I'm sure contagious among them. And I really love his hands as a hitter. He's got great hands as a hitter. He's got that thing with the hands that's hard to teach. Guys either have that or do not. He's a really interesting player and I have a strong appreciation for how he plays." That appreciation, however, may be something of a double-edged sword. Gone are the days when Holt was an unknown. He's become a player whom other teams must address in pre-series meetings, whose weaknesses they must identify, study and attack. And



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