With the season winding down and pennant races heating up, the contenders for the MVP of each league are busy putting the finishing touches on their seasons hoping to convince the voters they should win.

Josh Hamilton might be making the best case of all watching his team get shelled from the bench.

The Rangers have not been at full strength for much of the second half with Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler missing some significant time and Cliff Lee missing his last start with a strained lower back.

Despite all of these injuries, the Rangers were maintaining their lead in the AL West and playing competitive baseball.

Then Josh Hamilton banged awkwardly into the wall in Minnesota and the Rangers haven't won a game since.

Anyone who follows this team knows the engine of the Rangers offense has been Josh Hamilton and without him in the lineup the offense has fallen flat on its face.

The Rangers have been resilient all season long no matter what they are faced with, but losing their top hitter for what appears to be two weeks couldn't have come at a worse time.

The Rangers are in the middle of a stretch against teams they have struggled against this year and Hamilton's absence has been more noticeable than any other player the Rangers have missed this season.

Hamilton already has MVP numbers and should probably win the award despite missing a couple of critical weeks in September, but MVP voters have always been flaky.

More often than not the winner of the league MVP award is a popularity contest where the only credential needed to be considered is to play for a playoff team.

There is never anywhere near enough attention paid to the word "valuable" in MVP; something that must change this year.

The Rangers are clearly not the same team without Hamilton in the lineup and could be in trouble in the AL West race if he misses too much more time.

Is there a player in the league who is this valuable to a contending team?

No. Not even close.

Of course, this is the last thing Hamilton wants to talk about with his focus squarely on getting back on the field and helping the Rangers finish off the A's and secure their first playoff spot in 11 years.

With his return unlikely to be before the Rangers last road trip of the season, the Rangers are going to have to find a way to win some games and get their magic number down.

The last thing they need is to let the A's creep within a few games before a four game series in Oakland in two weeks.

If Hamilton does make it back sooner rather than later and turns the Rangers around there's no way he can be denied the AL MVP award.

Then again, those MVP voters are flaky.