Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox wipes the sweat off of his face in between pitches against the Kansas City Royal during the game on August 27, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

We all know the playoffs are probably a lost cause for our team, the 2012 Boston Red Sox. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still baseball games to play.

For some of the younger guys, it means getting a chance to prove themselves worthy of a roster spot in 2013 or at least a chance of making the team in 2013.

For the free agents to be, it means two things.

One, it’s a chance to show the Red Sox they can be a valuable part of the new look for next year. Two, it’s a chance to prove to all of MLB that they could help their team out next year and for years to come.

One of those free agents to be, Daisuke Matsuzaka, got that chance yesterday.

Now we all know Dice-K’s time here in Boston has been a disappointment. Sure there’s been some highs but the lows outnumber them 2-1. And right now, he’s pitching for his next contract whether it be with the Red Sox or any of the other 29 teams.

Yesterday, we saw a different Dice-K. We saw one who had a good tempo going. He got the ball, threw it, got it back and didn’t waste any time throwing it again.

He didn’t waste any pitches like he normally would trying to tinker around the strike zone. He just threw his pitches like he proabably did in Japan.

And when all was said and done, he picked up his first win since 2011 and the 50th of his career as the Red Sox beat the Royals 5-1. He allowed one unearned run over seven innings of work. He scattered five hits while walking two and he struck out six batters.

Now if he can pitch like this over his final starts of the season, there’s a chance he could be back in Boston next year. If not, at the very least, earned himself a job with another club in 2013.

Cody Ross is another one of those guys playing for a job in 2013.

He’s been told the Red Sox want him back next year and Ross has said he wants to stay in Boston. While no contract extension talks have happened as of yet, they could happen soon, if not immediately after the season ends if he is in fact in the plans for 2013.

Ross was a big reason why the Red Sox won yesterday as he was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. His single in the 3rd scored two runs and his double in the 6th scored Jacoby Ellsbury who had doubled earlier in the inning.

Even the newcomer James Loney contributed as he drove in Ross in the 6th. He’s another one playing for his next contract and to see whether or not he fits into the plans for the Red Sox for next year as well as the future.

Sure it’s not going to be fun at times watching this team but as fans we shouldn’t give up on them. Yes this is something to new to us. Something we haven’t seen probably since 2006.

But it’s part of baseball. It’s just how the game goes sometimes.

The Red Sox are on the west coast for the next nine days as they’ll make stops in Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle. So you know what that means. Late night baseball for the next nine days.

We’ll be back later with today’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let’s take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Arm strong [boston globe]

Ortiz to have PRP injection [boston globe]

Ross hasn’t let up with production [boston globe]

Dice turns back clock for Sox [boston herald]

Sox sellout streak goes on despite plenty of empty seats [boston herald]

Plagued by Achilles, Ortiz wants to stay [boston herald]

Careful on signing Papi [boston herald]

School of hard Sox [boston herald]

Bridge over Theo waters [boston herald]

Eastern Bank will miss partnership with ‘incredibly generous’ Gonzalez [boston herald]

Twenty-four hours that turned the Red Sox inside-out [rob bradford – weei.com]

Matsuzaka strong in return as Sox beat Royals, 5-1 [csn new england]

Mattingly welcomes change, challenge in late-season Sox acquisitions [csn new england]

Unfazed Gonzalez goes about business after trade to L.A. [csn new england]

The other guy: Punto surprised, disappointed by trade [csn new england]

Ross doing all he can to prove he belongs in Boston [csn new england]

Ellsbury powering up as health increases [csn new england]

Matsuzaka earns 50th career win in second return from DL [csn new england]

Valentine ‘very encouraged’ by Matsuzaka’s start [csn new england]

Aceves will not fly with team to California Monday [csn new england]

Aceves will fly separately to West Coast [espn boston]

Aceves will fly separately to West Coast [espn boston]

A sharp Dice-K opens new possibilities [espn boston]

Ellsbury, Ross provide three-four punch [espn boston]

David Ortiz wants to be back, not worried about injury’s impact on free agency [full count]

Closing Time: Daisuke Matsuzaka finally gets to 50 as Red Sox beat Royals [full count]

Daisuke Matsuzaka eyes a strong future, but isn’t contemplating free agency [full count]

Script has been flipped for Andre Ethier and Dustin Pedroia [full count]

After losing to Rockies, Josh Beckett takes on LA Times columnist T.J. Simers [full count]

Red Sox Nation Hits the Reset Button [grantland]

Alfredo Aceves Could Lose Closer’s Role After Being Suspended by Team [nesn.com]

David Ortiz Opts for PRP Treatment Over Surgery in Hopes of Returning This Season [nesn.com]

Red Sox’ Blockbuster May Mean Bobby Valentine Stays and Other Thoughts From the Week in Baseball [nesn.com]

Mark Melancon Buoyed by First Save of Season After Rocky Start With Red Sox [nesn.com]

Ryan Lavarnway, Craig Breslow Leave Door Open to Following Up on Ivy League Educations After Baseball [nesn.com]

Daisuke Matsuzaka Shows Signs of Confidence, Improved Health With Lights Out Return [nesn.com]

Cody Ross’ Uppercut Swing a Natural Fit for Fenway Park as Veteran Holds Lineup Together [nesn.com]

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox Have No Reason to Show Ill Will Toward Each Other After Trade [nesn.com]

Clayton Mortensen, Vicente Padilla Rely on Light Work Outs To Adjust To Time Zone Changes [nesn.com]

Red Sox Free Up Money in Mega Deal, But Prospects Gained May Be Key to Blockbuster Trade [nesn.com]

Legacies altered forever following blockbuster deal [redsox.com]

Sox not sure who’ll get promoted in September [nesn.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the Kansas City Star and Topeka Capital-Journal websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: getty images