Billingsley enters the game with a 2-1 record, 3.04 ERA and 0.930 WHIP.
While there has been a lot of hype surrounding Bryce Harper and what he will mean to the Washington Nationals and the game of baseball in general, the fact of the matter is this: he is only batting .250 in AAA for the Syracuse Chiefs.
Is that any indicator of the type of player he will become? Of course not.
However, it should give a signal as to how he will fare in his first few major league at-bats.
Granted, in AAA this season facing right-handed pitchers, Harper posts a solid batting line of .275/.362/.431/.793 in 51 at-bats. I'm not prepared to classify that as crushing the opposition, but it is respectable.
Billingsley, on the other hand, performs adequately against left-handed batters. In his career, left-hand bats put up a .271/.360/.391/.751 batting line. For the sake of parity, that equates to 1,902 at bats.
This season in particular, Billingsley has been better against lefties. In 43 at-bats, lefties are posting a batting line of .182/.234/.409/.643.
The major concern being that when left handed batters get a hit, it appears they hit for extra bases off of him. Harper has not been an extra-base threat this season at all, having only four doubles, one triple and one home run out of his 18 hits.
At the end of the day, the Washington Nationals will be glad to have Harper on the big club; it's just a shame for them that Billingsley will shut him down.