On Sept. 1 the Stros were 6 games back. I predicted the Cards would finish up 15-15, and, given this, the Stros would need to close with a 20-8 record to tie. They could acheive 20-8 by posting a 12-4 record in games started by Clemens-Oswalt-Pettitte, and an 8-4 record in those started by Wandy-Hirsh-Buchholz-etc...
Well, so far the Cards have gone 9-13, and the Stros 11-10. The Stros are 9-3 in games started by their aces, but have gone just 2-7 in games started by everyone else. In games started by Oswalt they are 5-0.
Looking ahead at their remaining games, they can probably squeeze in two more Oswalt starts if they pitch him on short rest, but Clemens and Pettitte can only go once more each, and Pettitte may not be able to go at all. Hirsh will get another start, and Matt Albers (2 career starts) is slated to start twice more.
The Stros were playing worse than the Cards prior to this disastrous series and their best case scenario appears to be 5-2 over their last 7. The Cards would then have to manage 3-5 to win it.
Bottom line: The Stros had a decent chance to catch the Cards on Sept 1, but not much of one now. The Cards will take the division with 83 pathetic wins.
Fun fact: This is the fourth year in a row Houston has swept a series from the Cardinals in September.