Mike Fiers Jokes J.D. Martinez Is Afraid to Face Him: 'He Ducked Me Today'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2018

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Fiers delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Friday, June 22, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
David Dermer/Associated Press

Detroit Tigers pitcher Mike Fiers and Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez are good friends, but Fiers suggested Saturday that Martinez didn't want to face him.

After Fiers allowed seven hits, three walks and no runs while striking out six over 6.1 innings in a 5-0 win over Boston on Saturday, he badgered his buddy, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press: "He ducked me today. He had been talking about that all year and I think he told [Red Sox manager Alex] Cora to get a day off against me."

MLB.com's Jason Beck confirmed that Fiers was simply teasing his former college teammate.

Fiers and Martinez both attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before enjoying success in Major League Baseball.

Martinez, who is in the midst of his first season with the Red Sox, is putting up MVP-caliber numbers with a .325 batting average, 29 home runs and 80 RBI.

Meanwhile, Fiers has been solid in his first season with the Tigers, as he is 7-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 111 innings.

Per Will Burchfield of 97.1 The Ticket, the career matchup between Martinez and Fiers is decidedly one-sided, as Martinez is 7-for-14 with two home runs and two doubles.

It is possible that Martinez and Fiers could be reunited in the coming weeks, as ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Red Sox were among the teams evaluating Fiers as a potential trade acquisition ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Fiers did not make the Houston Astros' postseason roster in 2017 after struggling during the regular season, but he could be a good option for the back end of Boston's rotation heading toward the playoffs by virtue of his bounce-back year.

For now, the Red Sox will focus on ensuring Martinez is 100 percent, as his off day came after he crashed into the wall during Friday's win over the Tigers.