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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.

 
COLUMNS
Alex Speier
10/05/2009 - 3:33am
If power pitchers thrive in October, then no one is better positioned than the Red Sox to make hay in the postseason. Ultimately, the “dilemma” about whether to have Jon Lester or Josh Beckett serve as the Game 1 starter of the American League Division Series against the Angels was less significant than the fact that the Sox were positioned to make such a choice.
Alex Speier
10/04/2009 - 3:08am
In all likelihood, when the Division Series against the Angels opens this week, Jon Lester will be the Game 1 starter for the second straight season. But the reason for that alignment in 2009 is dramatically different from the one in 2008, explaining part of the reason for the Red Sox’ optimism as they head into the postseason.
Alex Speier
10/02/2009 - 3:23am
In the final two months of 2008, Jason Bay had to answer question after question. Though he made a transition to Boston with what seemed like remarkable ease, he nevertheless was viewed as a great unknown at every step of his first three months with the Red Sox. 
Alex Speier
10/01/2009 - 3:44am
The Red Sox have always been a big-picture team, and so it comes as little surprise that team officials were frank in their assessment of the rest of the regular season. Their ticket to the postseason already punched, the Sox felt little need to pretend that any contest will matter between now and Game 1 of the playoffs.
Alex Speier
09/30/2009 - 5:24am
For a while, it seemed that everything had vacated the premises at Fenway Park. The buzz, the fans, the players — everything was gone.
Alex Speier
09/28/2009 - 3:29am
NEW YORK — As the Yankees streamed onto the field from the clubhouse, the bullpen and the dugout to celebrate their first division title since 2006, several members of the Red Sox remained behind in the dugout to take stock of the festivities.
Alex Speier
09/27/2009 - 9:05am
NEW YORK – Moral victories are rarely as satisfying as actual ones. Nonetheless, on a day when Yankees ace CC Sabathia proved nearly unhittable in a 3-0 victory, the Red Sox found themselves taking significant satisfaction in the performance that took place opposite New York’s skyscraping southpaw.
Alex Speier
09/26/2009 - 8:28am
NEW YORK — It wasn't hard to conjure the worst-case scenario. The line drive rang off of the inside of Jon Lester’s knee, and the pitcher instantly crumpled on the pitcher’s mound. The agony was obvious, and suddenly a pitcher who was viewed as a key component of the Red Sox’ path to postseason glory represented a question mark.
Alex Speier
09/25/2009 - 5:00am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “You know what they say about lions?” After posing the question, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz stands up, bat in hand, to illustrate his answer. With the end of his bat, he draws a circle in the dirt next to the Kauffman Stadium backstop.
Alex Speier
09/24/2009 - 4:50am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Josh Beckett arrived in Boston, the questions were not about his talent. Instead, the enormous issue that loomed over the pitcher was whether he could stay healthy enough to justify the steep prospect price paid by the Red Sox to acquire him. In his four full seasons with the Marlins, Beckett never pitched as many as 180 innings. At times, it seemed he spent as much time on the disabled list as the active roster thanks to a succession of blisters and shoulder woes.
Alex Speier
09/23/2009 - 5:57am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the standpoint of the Red Sox’ postseason plans, the most important outing of Tuesday night may not have been that of starter Paul Byrd. Byrd, of course, had an interesting tale of two games in the Sox’ 5-1 loss to the Royals (recap). He got shelled for five runs in the first, then shut out the Royals for the next 5-2/3 innings. 
Alex Speier
09/22/2009 - 1:51am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Allard Baird will not be rooting for Zack Greinke to win on Tuesday. It will mark one of the only nights this year that the former Royals general manager, now a member of Boston’s front office, will have anything resembling mixed emotions while watching the Cy Young frontrunner pitch. Greinke, who will start against the Sox, can make a compelling claim to the title of baseball’s best pitcher in 2009. He also happens to be the sport’s best story this season.
Alex Speier
09/22/2009 - 1:50am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Allard Baird will not be rooting for Zack Greinke to win on Tuesday. It will mark one of the only nights this year that the former Royals general manager, now a member of Boston’s front office, will have anything resembling mixed emotions while watching the Cy Young frontrunner pitch.
Alex Speier
09/15/2009 - 9:22am
For the second straight season, Kevin Youkilis has performed at a level that should place him in conversations about the top players in the American League. And yet somehow his name rarely gets recognized among baseball’s elite. The subject of American League Most Valuable Player typically revolves around Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Yankees Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter and perhaps Angels first baseman Kendry Morales (all, to be sure, deserving candidates). Youkilis is no more than a second-tier consideration.
Alex Speier
09/12/2009 - 3:49am
Knowledge is not water-soluble. Just 12 minutes of baseball were played at Fenway Park on Friday, with Red Sox starter Jon Lester loading the bases with one out in the top of the first before rains washed away the evening. A storm pounded the field for the better part of 2 hours, 20 minutes before the game was postponed to be part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.
Alex Speier
09/11/2009 - 11:09am
Billy Wagner thought about using his no-trade clause to torpedo a deal to the Red Sox. He agreed to go to Boston only when the new team put in writing that it would decline an $8 million option for the 2010 season. In 2003, Curt Schilling used his negotiating hammer to get a two-year, $25.5 million extension for the Sox (which became a three-year, $40.5 million deal once Boston won the World Series).
Alex Speier
09/09/2009 - 3:55am
The Red Sox have endured plenty of criticism for offseason acquisitions that failed to pan out. Most notably, neither John Smoltz nor Brad Penny lived up to the expectations that accompanied their signings. Both pitchers struggling so spectacularly that they were simply released.
Alex Speier
09/08/2009 - 3:40am
Even in defeat, the progress was obvious. Though Josh Beckett remained winless for a fifth straight start, that fact reflected as much upon an offense that proved utterly anemic against White Sox starter Mark Buehrle as it did upon the Red Sox starter’s performance.
Alex Speier
09/05/2009 - 3:11am
Paul Byrd’s first outing with the Red Sox was unbelievable. His second bordered on unwatchable. 
Alex Speier
09/04/2009 - 3:48am
The hottest hitter on the Red Sox was not in the lineup on Thursday. It didn’t show.  J.D. Drew, a wrecking ball in recent weeks, was on the sidelines with Rays left-hander David Price on the hill. But Boston suffered little for his absence, thanks to the presence of arguably the best fourth outfielder in the American League, a player who helps to make the Sox’ outfield as a whole the most productive in the A.L. 
Alex Speier
09/01/2009 - 3:48am
It’s a small thing, and Jon Lester insists that it does not bother him. But he does notice. When Josh Beckett takes the mound at Fenway Park, ‘K’ cards fan across the center field side of the Monster Seats to record the pitcher’s punchouts during any given start. The same treatment has been afforded in recent years to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Alex Speier
08/31/2009 - 2:21am
Because he is Roy Halladay, he is held to a different standard that would seem unfair were it not for the fact that the Blue Jays ace measures himself by a bar that most pitchers cannot reach. As such, a few ordinary starts can serve as cause for alarm in the world of the 32-year-old.
Alex Speier
08/30/2009 - 3:20am
For the first half of the season, it seemed as if Clay Buchholz might never find a way into the Red Sox rotation. Now, he is a pitcher whom the Red Sox cannot do without.
Alex Speier
08/27/2009 - 4:07am
It had been a long, long time coming for Tim Wakefield. When he last took the mound against Oakland on July 8, Wakefield was 42 years old, and putting the final touches on an All-Star first half with a six-inning, three-run, 10-hit effort that earned him his 11th and final victory prior to the break. The win left the Red Sox in first by a game over the Yankees in the American League East.
Alex Speier
08/26/2009 - 9:43am
If Billy Wagner didn’t want to win a championship, Tuesday’s trade to the Red Sox never would have happened. In the end, the left-handed reliever held all the power in the trade that sent him – after the Red Sox claimed him on waivers on Friday – from the New York Mets to Boston, just moments before Tuesday’s 1:30 p.m. deadline to complete a deal. Wagner possessed a no-trade clause that gave him the ability to blow up the agreement between the Mets and Sox, and would have been entirely within his rights to do so.


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