Boy, the A’s-Royals Wild Card Game had me worried.  And not just worried about my hopes of a Bay Bridge Series rematch being dashed…which they were.

The A’s played a solid game.  Not perfect, but solid, and they had one of the best pitchers in the game.  The Royals made several mistakes throughout the game.  But the Royals wouldn’t go away, and the fighting didn’t end until the A’s lost.

At the moment, the Giants seemed like a much more flawed team than the Athletics were this year.

And then…it was a pretty stress-free few hours.

This feels wrong.

The playoffs should make a baseball fan an angerball of frustration, fear, excitement, and confusion.  If you want a clear example, find an A’s fan.  Find them sooner rather than later.  They’ll still be an angerball for five months, but the intensity will be unmatched for about another 36 hours.

It’ll come back if the Angels win the World Series.

But for Giants fans, this was too easy.

Next come the Nationals…and this will be anything but easy.

The Nationals haven’t been a playoff-quality team for very long.  They stopped being the Expos in 2012.  But since 2011, the Giants have gone just 9-17, which is a wildly sad .346 winning percentage against the team from the Capital.  In particular, the Giants have gone just 3-10 on the shores of the Potomac.  But then, the Giants seem to always go there in July or August, when the heat and the humidity is about as close to an opposite of Candlestick as it gets.

This weekend will be rather different.  Friday’s high will be a manageable 77° (as of the weather report when I write this), though there’ll be a 74% humidity.  For comparison for us California folk, San Francisco will have a 32% humidity on Friday.  Saturday will be downright chilly, and potentially rainy, with a 67° high.  The humidity you can’t really discuss, because rain.

The lower temperatures should help the Giants significantly, especially late in the year.  It won’t really hurt the Nationals, but it will reduce their home field advantage.

One other difference?  The decision to have Tim Hudson pitch Game 2 in Washington.  Hudson knows pitching on the east coast well, after all the years in Atlanta (not exactly a stranger to humidity itself).  And while Hudson hasn’t been his best lately, Game 2 is the opportune time to use his experience to an advantage.

Steal one game in Washington, which is very doable, the Giants come home with Madison Bumgarner on the mound in Game 3.  It’s like winning the coin toss of a football game, and choosing to receive to start the second half.  Especially if you can manage to take possession and score going into the end of the first half.

The Nationals, of course, are no easy task to get by.  The middle of their order with Adam LaRoche, Jason Werth and Anthony Rendon is formidable.  They have three 20 HR hitters (Rendon, LaRoche and Ian Desmond).  They have that disruptive speed with Denard Span at the top of the order.  They have the x-factor talent of Bryce Harper, who is still figuring things out despite a down year.  And, of course, the pitching.  Stephen Strasburg has the worst ERA of the four guys likely to start in the playoffs, and that should tell you everything before you hear that the “worst” ERA was only 3.14.  Jordan Zimmerman and Doug Fister are having career years, and Tanner Roark has been damn good in his first full year.

This is a very good team, loaded with talent.  This will be anything but easy for the fans.

Too often, this season, the Giants have played down to their competition.  But this team, remarkably similar to the 2012 team, has also had a history of playing up to their competition in the playoffs.

But we’ve got 36 hours to worry.  Better get to it.