Daisuke Yamai

From BR Bullpen

Daisuke Yamai
Daisuke Yamai
Personal information
Date of birth May 10 1978(age -44)
Place of birth Toyonaka Japan
Vital information
Bats Right
Throws Right
Height   0  (0 {{#ifeq:yes|no|m)
Weight 81 kg (178 lb)
Other information
High School Kobe Koryo Gakuen High School
University Nara Sangyo University
Industrial League Kawai Musical Instruments
NPB Draft 2001
Playing career1
Years Club
2002–present Chunichi Dragons
1 top-level club appearances in bold

Daisuke Yamai
Kanji: 山井 大介
Hiragana: やまい だいすけ
Katakana: ヤマイ ダイスケ

ad-hoc: Yamai Daisuke

Daisuke Yamai is a pitcher for the Chunichi Dragons. In the 2007 Nippon Series he threw eight innings of a combined perfect game in the deciding game.


Yami attended Kobe Koryo Gakuen High School, and later went to Nara Sangyo University. After university, he went to play for Kawai Musical Instruments. At the semifinals of the 2001 Intercity Baseball Tournament, Yamai pitched a 1–0 shutout to reach the finals, which Kawai would win.

In the 2002 NPB draft, Yamai was the sixth pick of the Chunichi Dragons, two picks after Kawai teammate Yuichi Hisamoto. After being drafted, he switched his pitching motion from overhand to sidearm. He made his debut start on May 8 at Nagoya Dome, allowing just a single infield hit for his first victory in a 2-0 game. Yamai would spend most of the season as a back-of-the-rotation starter for the Dragons. He appeared in 31 games, with 15 starts and 6 games finished. He had a 6-3 win-loss record with 2 save points. In 84⅔ innings pitched he had a 3.93 ERA, struck out 68 and walked 34.

In 2003, Yamai was plagued arm issues and was sidelined for most of the season. He appeared in just four games, and pitched 5⅔ innings and had a 4.76 ERA. He faced 27 batters, giving up 11 hits, walking 1 and struck out 3. He had a 4.76 ERA

In 2004, Yamai did not make an ichi-gun appearance until late in the season late after returning to an overhand pitching motion. He won his first game in two years on September 12 against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp with a complete game shutout–his professional first. He would pitch in just eight games in the regular season – starting three – but made the Dragon's Nippon Series roster against the Seibu Lions. During the season, he struck out 31, and walked 16 with a 3.33 ERA in 27 innings. Yamai started game four of the Series, and pitched six strong innings to earn the win. He struck out six of the 26 batters he faced, walked two, gave up five hits, but did not allow a run in a 7–2 Chunichi victory. In the deciding game seven, he relieved Domingo Guzman in the third inning with the bases-loaded for Alex Cabrera. Cabrera promptly hit a grand slam, to break open the game. Yamai would face three more batters, giving up another hit and a walk before getting Hiroyuki Nakajima to ground out. Chunichi would lose the game and the series.

In 2005, Yamai once again bounced between ichi-gun and ni-gun. He began the season in the rotation, and started 15 games, but was later moved to the bullpen. He had a 3-5 win-loss record, with a save and a 4.13 ERA. He threw 106⅔ innings, and in nearly 400 at-bats, opponents hit .256 against him, including 14 home runs. He struck out 90 batters and walked 31. Right shoulder pain forced Yamai to miss the the entire 2006 season. While rehabilitating he got married.

Yamai began the 2007 season with the ni-gun Dragons but was promoted to the first team on July 2 to replace the struggling veteran Masahiro Yamamoto in the rotation. He would remain in the rotation for the rest of the season. On August 21, against the Yomiuri Giants he pitched a complete game to win his first NPB game in two years. Over the course of the season he pitched in 14 games, with a 6-4 record and a 3.36 ERA. He did not strike out as many batters as before his injury, only 56 in 83 innings, and he walked more batters (42). He held opposing batters to a .240 batting average and gave up six home runs.

In September, with the Dragons battling the Giants and the Hanshin Tigers for first place in the Central League, Yamai pitched lights-out ball. He appeared in five games, won four, lost one and held a 3.00 ERA during the month. He won the Central League Most Valuable Player of the Month award. Still, the Dragons would finish second in the league, 1.5 games back of the Giants and would have to play in the first stage of the Climax Series against the Tigers. The Dragons swept both the first stage and the second stage – against the Giants – to advance to the Nippon Series against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Yamai did not appear in either stage as he had arm pain at the end of the season.

In the fifth game of the Nippon Series, Yamai was the surprise starter over team ace Kenshin Kawakami. He faced reigning Sawamura Award winner Yu Darvish with the Dragons needing a win for their first Nippon Series title in over fifty years. Yamai was perfect through eight innings, with six strikeouts and only 86 pitches. In the top of the ninth, manager Hiromitsu Ochiai took him out of the game in favour of closer Hitoki Iwase. Iwase would retire the side on 13 pitches for the first perfect game in Nippon Series history and a Dragons victory, 1–0. It was also the first combined perfect game in Nippon Professional Baseball history.

Yamai only pitched two games in 2008, going 0-1 with a 1.00 ERA before being placed on the disabled list. He would miss the remainder of the season.

Yamai has a slider with a solid reputation and good fastball. He wears sunglasses similar to that of is the fictional superhero Ultra Seven featured in a tokusatsu TV show of the same name.