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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
04/25/2009 - 4:28am
The Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Yankees was a rare triumph indeed - in fact, it was one-of-a-kind. The Red Sox trailed, 4-2, entering the ninth against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. But the future Hall of Famer gave away the lead when Jason Bay battered a ball to left-center, barely clearing the Green Monster for a game-tying two-run homer.
Alex Speier
04/23/2009 - 11:32am
Plenty of attention has been devoted to the status of Jason Bay’s next contract. The question of whether the free-agent-to-be will be with the Red Sox beyond the 2009 season looms over his performance this year. That issue will reverberate throughout this season. Increasingly, Bay’s significance in the Sox lineup is apparent. In the sixth spot in the batting order, he offers an impressive combination of power and patience, someone for whom totals of 30 homers, 100 RBIs or 100 walks would not come as a surprise.
Alex Speier
04/22/2009 - 2:40am
No baseball game? No matter. Rain may lead to the cancellation of a ballgame, but it can do nothing to prevent an education in Five Things on the eve of a day-night double-header between the Red Sox and Twins.  JOIN THE CLUB, NICK GREEN...AND BE CAREFUL, FOR SHORTSTOP IS A DANGEROUS PLACE IN BOSTON
Alex Speier
04/21/2009 - 8:45am
Afterwards, the emotion was pure. Hunter Jones had some mementos in his locker after he recorded a scoreless ninth inning – a pair of authenticated balls for the first and third outs of the inning, as well as an authenticated lineup – but he also had something more.
Alex Speier
04/20/2009 - 6:02pm
It’s easy to forget how far the Red Sox came in a stretch of five games. It was less than a week ago that things could have gotten messy in a hurry. The team had sunk to last place with a dismal 2-6 record. The starting shortstop (Jed Lowrie) and an 18-game winner (Daisuke Matsuzaka) had both landed on the disabled list. The bullpen had been torched. The lineup had been feeble.
Alex Speier
04/19/2009 - 3:59am
The Red Sox received the right tonic at the right time. The Orioles may have come into Boston with a 6-3 record, having won series against the Yankees, Rays and Rangers, but that mark was something of an illusion. Baltimore arrived in the series having permitted 69 runs in nine games, an average of 7.7 per contest that ranked as the worst in baseball.
Alex Speier
04/18/2009 - 4:17am
Cooperstown-electee Jim Rice was flipping through the pages of the Red Sox pre-game media notes when he stopped at the notes on the hitters. He pointed to the name at the bottom of the page and wheeled towards David Ortiz. “You’ve got to start hitting your weight,” Rice bellowed. Ortiz, featuring a meager .176 average, .293 OBP and .206 slugging mark prior to last night’s game, seemed amused by the challenge. “It’s coming up,” he grinned. “First I’ve got to get to (Dustin) Pedroia.”
Alex Speier
04/18/2009 - 3:40am
The magnitude of the Red Sox’ comeback was immense. The team was down by a touchdown and extra point in the top of the second inning, as the Orioles clubbed Boston starter Brad Penny mercilessly.
Alex Speier
04/17/2009 - 7:52am
There hasn’t ever been much mystery to what Brad Penny does on a mound. That remained the case in the right-hander’s Red Sox debut. In his first inning with his new club, Penny unleashed 15 pitches. Of those, 14 were fastballs. The hard-thrower rarely veered from that approach, sticking with his bread-and-butter pitch for 65 of his 86 (75.6 percent) offerings against the Angels.
Alex Speier
04/12/2009 - 3:23am
Facing elimination in a playoff series? That’s a must-win situation. A three-game losing streak in April? Clearly, the same dire consequences are not in play. Certainly, the Red Sox had not moved to DEFCON 1 on the basis of three defeats – two to the Tampa Bay Rays at home and another in the series opener against the Angels on Friday – in the season’s first week. Even so, it would be tough to say that there wasn’t some hint of elevated stakes in the fifth game of the young campaign.
Alex Speier
04/10/2009 - 3:17am
As last season ended, so it began. The Red Sox and Rays, competitors in last year’s American League Championship Series, became reacquainted in a three-game series to commence the 2009 season. And, just as they did last October, the Rays showed that they were capable of taking two out of three games at Fenway Park.
Alex Speier
04/09/2009 - 12:42am
Last year, the Red Sox and Rays exchanged volleys throughout the year but spent much of the year incapable of breaking serve. The home team swept the first four series of the year between the two teams until finally, in September, the Rays broke the spell by taking two of three at Fenway. This year, the back-and-forth started a bit earlier. After the Red Sox claimed a 5-3 victory on Opening Day, Tampa Bay rebounded with an impressive 6-2 win at Fenway Park. (For a recap, click here.)
Alex Speier
04/08/2009 - 1:18am
Jason Varitek got off to a strong start in his quest to achieve the near-impossible. The catcher is coming back from the sort of season that typically signals an irreversible slide. Players in Varitek’s age bracket (he turns 37 on Saturday) have rarely come back from offensive seasons as bad as the one he had in 2008 to achieve the status of even an average player. Last year, as a 36-year-old, Varitek hit .220 with a .313 OBP with a .672 on-base plus slugging percentage. His OPS+ was 73, meaning that his OPS was roughly 27 percent worse than the league average.
Alex Speier
04/07/2009 - 7:48am
Surely novelty has to count for something. Monday’s postponement of the scheduled game against the Rays marked the first time the Red Sox home opener had been cancelled since April 11, 2003. It was the first time the club’s Opening Day game got scuttled in a generation, dating back to a snow-out in Chicago on April 6, 1982 (no word on whether the White Sox had been planning on wearing shorts that day). So at least the Sox had that going for them … Which is nice.
Alex Speier
04/06/2009 - 12:50am
Just a few years ago, the hallmark of the Red Sox was the merciless destruction of pitching staffs. Historically powerful offenses from 2003-05 had a winning formula that was anything but subtle. The Sox, quite simply, would decimate their opponents with the force of a sledgehammer. The formula has undergone some revision in recent years. With a line of potentially dominant arms that stretches from Boston to Pawtucket to Fort Myers, the Sox are now viewed as a team whose elite run prevention is the foundation of a run at – and perhaps through – the postseason.
Alex Speier
04/04/2009 - 11:16am
Our panel of Curt Schilling, Rob Bradford, Cyn Donnelly, Kirk Minihane, Mike Petraglia, Jon Rish and Alex Speier - with a brief cameo by Gary From Chapel Hill - peers into the crystal ball in an attempt to see the future of the Red Sox' 2009 Opening Day roster:   ROTATION   1. Which incarnation of pitcher will Josh Beckett be for the Red Sox this year? Will he most closely resemble the 2006, 2007 or 2008 version?  
Alex Speier
04/04/2009 - 12:56am
The neverending spring training is finally nearing its conclusion. Remarkably, despite the fact seven full weeks elapsed from the reporting date for Red Sox pitchers and catchers to the time that the club migrated north for the regular season, few salacious storylines emerged. The time in Fort Myers was characterized chiefly by a quiet professionalism.
Alex Speier
03/30/2009 - 8:48am
The visit by the Red Sox to central Florida to play the Braves on Monday will offer yet another reminder of a still-foreign concept. John Smoltz, after 21 seasons with Atlanta, is preparing for life with a new major-league team. A pitcher who seemed all but certain to spend his entire career with one big-league club is instead rehabbing from shoulder surgery with the goal of a mid-summer unveiling in Boston. The concept is shocking. And yet, in a sense, it is not the most jarring professional move that Smoltz has had to make.
Alex Speier
03/28/2009 - 11:59am
As he learned to play baseball, Jed Lowrie – like almost everyone else in the Northwest – found it impossible to resist the temptation to imitate Ken Griffey, Jr. Everyone wanted to be the iconic Mariners outfielder, and to a degree, Lowrie was no different. When hitting tennis balls with a baseball bat in his back yard, Lowrie would turn his baseball cap around. Though naturally right-handed, he would try to mimic Griffey’s left-handed swing, an early hint of his future as a switch-hitter.
Alex Speier
03/25/2009 - 7:15am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – No one will confuse the Red Sox for a small-market team anytime soon. Nonetheless, because of a roster that features an ever-increasing number of young, affordable players, the days in which the team could be lumped only with the Yankees in free-spending ways have moved further into the rearview mirror.
Alex Speier
03/24/2009 - 3:32am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The announcement of Curt Schilling’s retirement brought into sharp relief the significance of the deal that made the pitcher a Red Sox. A compelling argument can be made that the trade that brought him to Boston from Arizona was the biggest in franchise history since the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
Alex Speier
03/24/2009 - 12:25am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brad Penny looked outstanding in his first game activity against major-league hitters since last Sept. 15. The big right-hander needed just 33 pitches to get through three innings, allowing one walk, no hits and striking out three. He showed impressive velocity, registering a 93-95 mph fastball with good life that he moved up and down in the zone to elicit plenty of swings and misses in his outing. The outing was a marker of major progress for Penny over the past six months.
Alex Speier
03/23/2009 - 6:59am
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The round of cuts made by the Red Sox on Sunday included some of the most dominant performers of the spring. Daniel Bard (0.00 ERA in 9.1 innings), a non-roster invitee to major-league camp this spring, was reassigned to the minors in anticipation of a likely stint in Triple-A Pawtucket. Junichi Tazawa (1.00 in 9 frames) was optioned to the minors after dazzling the team in his first exposure to professional baseball.
Alex Speier
03/22/2009 - 7:12am
FORT MYERS, Fla. – First it was awe, then surprise. Jason Bay destroyed a baseball against the Minnesota Twins in the spring training contest on St. Patrick’s Day. The shot carried well over the 410 feet to straightaway centerfield at City of Palms Park. In fact, it crashed atop the batter’s eye above the fence in dead center, a 40-foot tall concrete installment covered black fabric to improve the batter’s view of pitches.
Alex Speier
03/21/2009 - 6:27am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In demeanor, there is little question that Clay Buchholz has been a different pitcher this spring than he was in 2008. Last year, team officials were disconcerted by the constant pick-off throws to first made by Buchholz (a pitcher whose quick time to the plate already allows him to hold runners well), a sign of his confusion while on the hill.


Audio On Demand

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It Is What It Is Cast: Gronk will continue to smash and dash

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."

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Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.

Peter King of MMQB with Dale and Holley

We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.

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Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, "I think Rondo is going to go, I just don't see where and how yet" 7-17-14

Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston: I believe Rondo will be traded 7-10-14

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.

OK State Men's Basketball coach, Travis Ford, joins MFB to talk about Marcus Smart, 6-30-14

Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.

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Tim Kurkjian, ESPN: Red Sox are in a tough place with Lester 7-28-14

Tim Kurkjian joins the program to discuss the Red Sox options at the trade deadline.

Christian Vazquez with Joe & Daveafter the win at Tampa Bay

Kevin Millar, MLB Network: David Ortiz not afraid of David Price, 7-25-14

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

The Bradfo Show: Talking …

The Bradfo Show: Talking Bruins roster moves with DJ Bean, Turtleboy

Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.

DJ Bean breaks down the first hours of NHL Free Agency 7-1-14

DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla

DJ Bean, WEEI.com. The Bruins are not traded Marchand 6-13-14

DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau

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How does Tom Brady's leadership help the Patriots? 7-29-14

John, Gerry, and Steve DeOssie discuss Tom Brady's impact on the rest of the Patriots, plus Steve tells tales from his old days as a NFL linebacker

Headlines Headlines Headlines: Whale Watch Catastrophe 7-29-14

A whale watch boat is stranded overnight in Boston Harbor

Red Sox are destroyed by the Blue Jays 7-29-14

Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront certainly put on quite the pitching performance, as the Red Sox were trounced by the Jays. Does this change the team's approach to the trade deadline?

Three For All: Christian'…

Three For All: Christian's girlfriend calls him out, 7-29-14

Christian tells a story about taking his girlfriend to see "Jersey Boys" in NYC, but he leaves out some crucial details. Luckily, she was listening and called the show to clarify exactly what kind of shenanigans he was trying to pull.

The NFL is taking a look at "high-stakes" Fantasy Football, 7-29-14

MFB discuss a Peter King article that suggests many NFL coaches and assistant coaches have felt increasing pressure over big-money fantasy football players. Christian also weighs in specifically on how his knowledge of game-plans resulted directly in him winning his first season as a fantasy football player.

Red Sox routed by Blue Jays as trade rumors swirl, 7-29-14

The Sox lost 14-1 as Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront both had awful performances. On the heels of the loss, rumors began to fly regarding Jon Lester and John Lackey possibly being traded.

Jon Lester is on the tabl…

Jon Lester is on the table, will he end up in LA? 7-28-14

We talk about the latest news surrounding Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Could he be dealt to the Dodgers?

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Red Sox Mistakes - 7-28-14

We talk about four of the biggest mistakes the Red Sox have made over the past 30+ years.

Gronk being Gronk: Although limited in practice, GRONK IS BACK

We discuss the return of Rob Gronkowski, his comments to the media today, and what a healthy (or unhealthy) Gronk will mean for the 2014 Patriots.

Jon Lester's Contract Sit…

Jon Lester's Contract Situation and the Future

Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.

The All Star Game and the Worst Ideas in Sports

Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.

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Producer's Podcast-Is Lebron a Genius? 7-29-14

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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.

Minor Details Ep. 94.1: Are prospects overvalued? Andrew Miller on being traded for Miguel Cabrera

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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Rob Bradford on the latest with the Sox at the deadline 7-28-14

Rob gave the latest on Jon Lester trade talks and the flap between Ortiz and the Rays.

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Minor Details Ep. 94.2 wi…

Minor Details Ep. 94.2 with Jim Callis of MLB.com: Are Red Sox prospects overvalued?

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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Kirk Minihane on what mot…

Kirk Minihane on what motivates the media 7-25-14

Kirk breaks down the media criticism he has received.

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David Ortiz offends the R…

David Ortiz offends the Rays again 7-28-14

John, Meter and Buck opened the show by discussing the latest flap between the Red Sox and the Rays.

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Jon Lester is on the tabl…

Jon Lester is on the table, will he end up in LA? 7-28-14

We talk about the latest news surrounding Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Could he be dealt to the Dodgers?

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