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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
07/22/2009 - 3:57am
The Red Sox suffered through what seemed like one of their more dismal days of the season on Tuesday. Tim Wakefield landed on the disabled list, the offense sputtered in Texas and at the end of the day, following a fourth straight loss, the Sox had been bounced from first place in the American League East for the first time since June 8. This surely wasn’t the healthy burst from the gates that the team fancied for the second half.
Alex Speier
07/21/2009 - 3:36am
It was a decade ago that Josh Beckett and Josh Hamilton gained reputations as diamond gods, prep stars who left scouts’ mouths agape with their seemingly limitless talent. The two Joshes were clearly the class of the 1999 draft, and the only question was who would go first and who would go second.
Alex Speier
07/20/2009 - 2:09am
The phrase is becoming almost redundant: bad day for the Red Sox leadoff hitter. J.D. Drew didn’t have much to write home about on Sunday. He started the game by striking out looking against Roy Halladay, had a couple of infield groundouts and fouled out to first. It would be difficult to pin the blame for the Red Sox’ 3-1 loss to Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays. (Recap here.)
Alex Speier
07/17/2009 - 2:23am
The regular season is now closer to the end than to the beginning, yet almost nothing has happened in the talks between Jason Bay and the Red Sox about a potential contract extension. The All-Star break has come and gone. Some dialogue took place between the two sides during the Red Sox’ four-day break in the season. According to multiple baseball sources, however, none of the conversations were significantly different in substance or tenor from what had taken place since spring training.
Alex Speier
07/15/2009 - 3:22pm
ST. LOUIS – The All-Star Game served as a backdrop to a three-day lovefest for Albert Pujols in his baseball hometown. The Cardinals slugger, almost universally acclaimed as the best hitter in the game, was feted as the king of the game. It was Pujols who shared the stage with President Barack Obama for the ceremonial first pitch. It was Pujols who stood in line to take a bow with a succession of St. Louis greats: Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson Ozzie Smith and Stan “The Man” Musial.
Alex Speier
07/14/2009 - 4:35am
ST. LOUIS – It’s coming. The All-Star Game marks not merely the end of baseball’s first half, but also the beginning of the most fevered stretch of the trade and rumor season. Multiple executives have suggested that in the days following this year’s All-Star break, they expect a logjam to break.
Alex Speier
07/13/2009 - 2:50am
ST. LOUIS – A deal that merited almost no attention at the time now stands as one of the best free-agent signings in Red Sox and even baseball history. 
Alex Speier
07/13/2009 - 2:32am
Few free agents in major-league history have ever offered the kind of value on the dollar of Tim Wakefield. According to the excellent resource fangraphs.com, which looks at the totality of a player’s statistics and assigns a value to it, Wakefield’s performance has been “worth” roughly $70 million since 2002 (the earliest season charted by the site), or roughly $40 million than he’s earned in that time.
Alex Speier
07/08/2009 - 2:57am
Josh Beckett did not speak like a man amidst the greatest run of his pitching career. His statements were riddled with self-criticism as he attempted to offer praise to anyone but himself. Beckett dominated Oakland on Tuesday for his 10th win of the season. He gave up two runs and six hits (two of them infield dinks) in 6.2 innings, getting 15 of his 20 outs via groundball or strikeout.
Alex Speier
07/07/2009 - 4:44am
All season long, the baseball world has marveled at the depth of the Red Sox’ pitching staff, extending from the 12-man pitching staff across levels of the minor-league system. The offensive options, on the other hand, have not been nearly as far-reaching.
Alex Speier
07/06/2009 - 3:14am
For Tim Wakefield and most of the raft of six Red Sox who will head to St. Louis next week, selection for the All-Star game represented validation for a season of excellence. For Dustin Pedroia, the honor came with slightly more complicated emotions. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player was grateful for his second straight election as an All-Star starter. Even so, there was nearly a hint of apology, and certainly one of modesty, as he accepted the honor.
Alex Speier
07/04/2009 - 3:29am
In some respects, sentiment now offers Tim Wakefield’s best shot at making the All-Star team. In some respects, sentiment for Wakefield’s candidacy contributed to the Red Sox’ 6-5 loss against the Mariners in 11 innings on Friday. (Recap.) Make no mistake: virtually everyone in and around the Red Sox would like to see Wakefield become a first-time All-Star at the age of 42. Members of the team make little secret of their rooting interest.
Alex Speier
07/02/2009 - 4:59pm
Here are the car keys…and $3 million. Some 16-year-olds are now being made very, very rich by baseball teams. July 2 marked the beginning of Major League Baseball’s amateur international free-agent signing period. From that date through Aug. 31, amateur players from anywhere except the U.S. and Canada who have turned 16 can peddle their services to the highest bidder as free agents. The search for talent spans the globe, from Taiwan and Australia to Europe and, most famously, into Latin America.
Alex Speier
07/01/2009 - 2:37pm
Fifty draft picks ... and not a single Scott Boras client among them.
Alex Speier
06/30/2009 - 3:41am
Red Sox manager Terry Francona waited as long as he could. But in the end, there was little choice. The Sox were 18-7 in the 25 games since they had shuffled the lineup and installed Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot while putting J.D. Drew behind him in the second spot. But that team success had come largely despite Pedroia’s struggles in the role: he had played in 24 of those games, hitting .214 with a .264 OBP and .565 OPS as the leadoff man.
Alex Speier
06/28/2009 - 3:34am
Roger Clemens is on notice. Cy Young, too. On Saturday, Tim Wakefield arrived in style atop a Red Sox franchise record list. The 42-year-old knuckleballer continued his remarkable season by delivering six shutout innings to lead his club to a 1-0 victory over the Braves in Atlanta (recap). Wakefield (10-3, 4.18 ERA) allowed just three hits -- all singles -- to the Braves. No Atlanta baserunner got past second base while he was on the mound.
Alex Speier
06/27/2009 - 4:38am
Remember when Josh Beckett was 2-2 with a 7.22 ERA? That’s OK -- no one else does, either. Facing the Atlanta Braves for his second straight start (the previous one being a complete-game shutout last Saturday), Beckett again blasted zeros across the scoreboard. The Red Sox starter logged seven shutout innings in his team’s 4-1 victory (recap), permitting just six hits while walking none and punching out six.
Alex Speier
06/24/2009 - 7:04am
The way Jason Bay describes it, his job description is simple. “I’ve maintained all along,” Bay said on the Red Sox Post-Game Show, “that on those days when I’m not getting hits or hitting a homer, if I could drive in a run – like (Sunday) against Atlanta, a sac fly – get those RBIs when I can, that’s basically what I’m really worried about, driving in those runs.”
Alex Speier
06/23/2009 - 11:20am
There are plenty of terms used to describe the baseball operations offices of the Boston Red Sox. Few are flattering. “The dungeon” and “the torture room” are a couple of phrases thrown around to depict the offices beneath Fenway where most of the team’s baseball decisions take place. Such phrases are understandable, particularly around the time of the Major League Baseball draft.
Alex Speier
06/21/2009 - 6:03am
This is why the Red Sox stockpiled a pitching surplus. Daisuke Matsuzaka is 1-5 with an 8.52 ERA. He has looked lost on the mound for nearly all of a season in which he still has yet to deliver a single quality start. Ultimately, after he lasted just four innings and allowed six runs on Friday, the Sox had little choice but to pull the plug. The team announced that, rather than going with a six-man rotation with the impending return of John Smoltz, Matsuzaka’s next scheduled start will be skipped.
Alex Speier
06/19/2009 - 9:54am
The return of Hanley Ramirez to Fenway Park was hardly spectacular. During a three-game series with the Marlins, the superstar shortstop collected just two hits in 10 at-bats with a pair of walks and a pair of strikeouts. Nonetheless, that modest performance made no less fascinating the “what-if” game that can be played with Ramirez, particularly in a season when the position he occupies for the Marlins has been one of weakness for the Red Sox this year.
Alex Speier
06/18/2009 - 4:04am
It was well and good to be called “a tough kid” by Terry Francona, but really, the Red Sox manager’s credentials to make that call only go so far. Recently retired Ultimate Fighting Championship star Chuck Liddell is another matter entirely. Liddell was on hand at Fenway to watch his friend Brad Penny win his 100th career game. Yet the pitcher almost never had that chance. In the top of the first inning, Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida smashed a liner straight back up the middle that hit Penny on the left side of the chest.
Alex Speier
06/17/2009 - 6:48am
In the bottom of the sixth, David Ortiz took a hellacious hack at a 91 mph fastball from Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop, fouling it straight back and narrowly missing a chance to send a ball into orbit. The vicious cut forced Badenhop to come to a conclusion that other pitchers will undoubtedly soon reach: he abandoned any efforts to go after Ortiz with fastballs.
Alex Speier
06/16/2009 - 6:01am
For four months, Clay Buchholz had been asked the same questions. And every time, his answers remained unaltered. Yes, Buchholz wanted to pitch in the major leagues. Yes, he understood that the line to the Red Sox rotation was long, snaking around so many times that he had no idea whether he would reach one of the coveted front five spots in 2009. Yes, he viewed it as his responsibility to redeem the faith of his organization after a year-long struggle in 2008, and he was willing to remain patient – no matter how long – while trying to do so.
Alex Speier
06/11/2009 - 5:41am
Suddenly, air seemed in short supply. The Red Sox had enjoyed a comfortable journey through the first six innings of their Wednesday night game against the Yankees. Tim Wakefield had been anything but overpowering. Even so, in his own words, he “was able to spread hits around” to limit the Yankees to just three runs in his six innings. With Chien-Ming Wang imploding in the early innings, the Sox enjoyed a comfortable 6-3 advantage.


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