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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
08/24/2009 - 4:46am
Since the beginning of May, Josh Beckett had been delivering the types of performances that could only be examined through the perspective of history. On Sunday, that remained the case, but for entirely different reasons. The Red Sox ace, who enjoyed a period of unrelenting dominance from early May through the middle of August, turned in an outing unlike any other in his career, and indeed, in the last half century.
Alex Speier
08/23/2009 - 3:27am
Brad Penny wasn’t really in a position to talk before Saturday’s game. He simply did not know what his future -- specifically, his place in the Red Sox rotation -- held. “I really don’t know anything,” he admitted.
Alex Speier
08/21/2009 - 4:41am
It wasn’t exactly a bolt from the blue for J.D. Drew. The Red Sox right-fielder had 12-career multi-homer games before he repeated the feat on Thursday against the Blue Jays.
Alex Speier
08/20/2009 - 3:22pm
While most teams spent the final days preceding the deadline to sign their draft picks haggling with money-seeking advisors, members of the Red Sox’ amateur scouting staff faced an entirely different menace: swine flu.
Alex Speier
08/20/2009 - 4:07am
On August 20, 2008, Clay Buchholz was shelled, and shell-shocked. He couldn't make it out of the third inning against the pitiful Orioles, allowing five runs and earning a demotion to Double-A Portland. The pitcher seemed overwhelmed by the challenge of the majors, unable to gain his footing against even the weakest of opponents. On Wednesday, 364 days after his inglorious return to the minors, Buchholz represented something entirely different. In the final leg of what seemed a three-part test befitting Job, the pitcher never blinked.
Alex Speier
08/18/2009 - 8:56am
The Red Sox have arrived at a point in the year where the wins are more urgent. The team trails in the wild-card race by a full game, and must seek to restore order in a second half whose soundtrack has been a screeching record needle. And yet there is almost certain to be a prevailing sense of calm that permeates the Sox clubhouse in Toronto today. For that fact, the reason is simple. The Red Sox will have Josh Beckett on the mound on Tuesday.
Alex Speier
08/17/2009 - 4:02am
Suddenly, the Red Sox stood in position to claim a huge win that could change the shape of the playoff race. Just one run down in the eighth inning against the Rangers, in a game that would determine who left the Ballpark in Arlington with the lead in the wild-card race, the Sox were mounting their uprising.
Alex Speier
08/14/2009 - 2:27am
Three batters into Thursday’s game, the Red Sox had runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the first inning, and so Tigers ace Justin Verlander dialed it up. The right-hander reached back to pop fastballs into catcher Gerald Laird’s mitt at 98, 99 and even 100 mph, racking up consecutive strikeouts of Jason Bay and David Ortiz in the process.
Alex Speier
08/13/2009 - 6:07pm
Clay Buchholz has a no-hitter on his resume, yet a strong case can be made that what he accomplished over his past two starts – both losses – has been even more impressive. In consecutive outings, Buchholz held his own against the aces of two first-place teams. Faced with no margin for error, the young Sox right-hander gave his team an opportunity to win.
Alex Speier
08/13/2009 - 4:32am
The development was one that the Red Sox could seemingly ill afford. Kevin Youkilis’ teammates understood why their cleanup hitter charged the mound on Tuesday, even as they understood that his bull rush, tossed helmet and attempted takedown of Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello would result in punishment. The verdict came down swiftly.
Alex Speier
08/12/2009 - 4:46am
Unless your name is Dave Roberts, history usually ignores pinch-runners. That changed on Tuesday in an incredibly unexpected fashion. Mike Lowell was pressed into precisely that role in the bottom of the second inning on Tuesday, after Kevin Youkilis used a helmet by way of introduction to Rick Porcello after getting drilled by a pitch. With Youkilis ejected, the Sox needed a pinch-runner and replacement at third base.
Alex Speier
08/10/2009 - 5:21am
NEW YORK – “Are we in the lead for the wild card? What’s the deal?” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia had just seen his team suffer a devastating defeat that concluded the chaotic final innings of a four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees. Boston had wasted a brilliant outing from Jon Lester and likewise failed to take advantage of a two-run homer from Victor Martinez that snapped a 31-inning scoreless streak and gave the Sox a 2-1 lead in the eighth.
Alex Speier
08/09/2009 - 5:11am
NEW YORK -- “All right, everybody ready?” David Ortiz offered the inquiry a bit sheepishly, a tone that belied his high-wattage arrival at a 12:30 p.m. press conference in Yankee Stadium. Ortiz, flanked by his father, Enrique, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona, arrived in a diamond-covered ensemble -- sunglasses, earrings, watch and a skull pendant on a necklace –- that shimmered for the shutters of roughly a dozen cameras.
Alex Speier
08/09/2009 - 3:35am
NEW YORK – It is easy to forget that with more than 50 games remaining on the schedule, the Red Sox are still in the driver’s seat to reach the playoffs as a wild card. Of course, that notion is forgettable precisely because the team has done little since the All-Star break to suggest worthiness for the postseason.
Alex Speier
08/03/2009 - 7:28am
BALTIMORE – It was a weekend of introductions and debuts for the Red Sox, whose activity surrounding the trading deadline was as furious as any team’s in baseball. When the dust settled following an explosive 18-10 victory to complete a three-game sweep over the Orioles (recap), the Sox emerged as a team that appeared stronger for both the short-term and the future.
Alex Speier
08/02/2009 - 10:24am
BALTIMORE – He shouldn’t have swung. Josh Reddick had already taken his first major-league hacks on Friday, when the 22-year-old pinch-hit in the ninth inning. And so the experience of stepping into the batter’s box in the top of the second inning – his first at-bat of his first big-league start – did not represent a big-league first.
Alex Speier
08/02/2009 - 3:52am
BALTIMORE -- It would be somewhat misleading to suggest that everything is beer and skittles for the Red Sox’ offense. The Boston lineup managed to push just four runs across the plate on a night when they got 13 hits. The Sox stranded a season-high 15 baserunners. And yet, it seems as if a corner has been turned. The team’s epic slump to start the second half – which included a six-game run of scoring three or fewer runs – may have subsided.
Alex Speier
08/01/2009 - 7:56am
BALTIMORE – It swept through the room in a fashion reminiscent of a tornado, touching down unpredictably in different parts of the visitor’s clubhouse in Camden Yards. As the final minutes ticked off and then passed in the moments leading up to the 2009 trade deadline, uncertainty and change swept the room and affected the lives of many Red Sox (while leaving a few, surprisingly, completely unscathed).
Alex Speier
07/31/2009 - 4:08am
And so, finally, the end is nigh. One of the most dizzying stretches of the decade for the Red Sox will reach its conclusion around 4 p.m. EST on Friday, when the deadline for trades not requiring waivers will finally pass. The Sox remain aggressive in pursuit of a deal that will change their complexion, not just for the rest of 2009 but beyond. The same names keep surfacing as apples of the team’s eye: starter Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays, catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Alex Speier
07/31/2009 - 2:57am
And, oh, yeah – there was a baseball game. A very important baseball game. Had the Red Sox lost, the sense of panic surrounding the club in what felt like its most devastating week since 2006 – yes, beating even the madness of Manny-gate one year ago at this time – may have gained irreversible momentum.
Alex Speier
07/29/2009 - 4:49am
In some ways, it is less relevant to know who the Red Sox might get than it is to know that they can get in the mix on just about any available player. A pair of pitchers underscored that point on Tuesday. Though the Sox suffered a startling 9-7 loss (recap), they were reminded of the depth of assets that they have in their young pitchers.
Alex Speier
07/28/2009 - 5:28am
You can feel July 31 approaching in the Red Sox clubhouse. It is a force that tends to occupy corners and swirl through conversations. What will happen? Who will remain in a Boston uni by Friday night? What new teammates might be coming through the door?
Alex Speier
07/28/2009 - 4:01am
Though he is now in his third year in the United States, it is increasingly clear that Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox still are dealing with their differences as they approach the issue of how to keep the pitcher both healthy and effective. That much became apparent in an article that appeared in Japan on Monday.
Alex Speier
07/27/2009 - 2:45am
Let’s get this out of the way first: the Red Sox have not entertained the notion of removing John Smoltz from the rotation, and Smoltz is not entertaining the notion of retiring. At this point, there is nothing to indicate that drastic change is in the offing.
Alex Speier
07/24/2009 - 5:31am
For those New Englanders who believe in the notion of a Red Sox Nation, July 24 must be considered the culture’s independence day. From a symbolic standpoint, it was five years ago today that Red Sox history altered irrevocably. On July 24, 2004, the Red Sox claimed perhaps the most important regular-season win in franchise history.


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Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to discuss David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia's struggles, and Jon Lester's contract.

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With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.

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A compelling case can be made that July 24, 2004, represents as significant a landmark as any date in modern Red Sox history. On that day, a memorable brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees served as a catalyst for an epic 10-9 walkoff victory for the Red Sox over New York and indomitable closer Mariano Rivera, a game cited by many members of the 2004 team as pivotal in Boston's first championship run in 86 years. Ian Browne, who covers the Red Sox for MLB.com and authored Idiots Revisited, discusses the landmark game.

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Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.

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