The Boston Red Sox are sprinting toward October.

The finish line of the baseball season is in sight. We often like to point out that the 162-game grind of Major League Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. With 150 games gone, that’s no longer the case. It’s time to break from the pack, and the Red Sox have been doing just that.

They picked up the pace with a four-game sweep of the Yankees at home over the weekend, their longest sweep over New York in 26 years. It was an educational experience that may have taught us a lot about this team.

We learned they can win one-run games. They won by a run on Saturday and Sunday, coming from behind in each game. These are the type of games you need to win when the playoffs roll around, and they were the type of games the Red Sox weren’t winning before.

The Sox are now 18-22 in one-run games, but we’re all feeling a lot better about that stat after the Yankees series.

We learned that Hanley Ramirez might be the American League Player of the Month for September. He went 9 for 16 over the weekend, and had 11 homers in 18 games entering Monday’s game. Not coincidentally, the Sox went 12-6 in that stretch.

Ramirez has never been to the World Series, but he has a .467 career average in eight Division Series games. He has made this offense – which leads the majors in runs scored – even more potent of late.

We learned that the bullpen has suddenly, miraculously, come together when the stakes are highest. The bullpen ERA is 0.94 in September, the best in baseball. That run of success coincides with the return of Koji Uehara, who got the save Sunday night when Craig Kimbrel was unavailable. Uehara threw a scoreless ninth. Five other relievers combined with him to work 52/3 scoreless innings.

The bullpen’s success is very important, because we’ve also learned there are no sure things in the starting rotation after David Price and Rick Porcello. The Sox have to feel good about the two men at the top of the rotation, but Eduardo Rodriguez, Clay Buchholz and Drew Pomeranz were less than stellar in their recent starts. The bullpen bailed them out, but that can’t keep happening.

The good news is that the Red Sox really only need one start from one of those three pitchers in the best-of-five ALDS. Porcello and Price could each start two games on regular rest. And with those two pitchers at the top, this team feels good about its chances in a playoff series. In 2013, Jon Lester and John Lackey combined for seven of Boston’s 11 postseason wins. The Red Sox are hopeful they can once again ride a pair of arms to a deep playoff run.

Most important, we learned that the Sox are undoubtedly going to the playoffs. The Red Sox beat Baltimore 5-2 Monday to reduce their magic number to win the AL East to 9. A split of the four-game set with the Orioles would keep Boston in control. Winning the division means you don’t have to worry about a one-game, wild-card showdown. It means another worst-to-first turnaround.

Autumn is here. And the Sox are pulling away in the toughest division in baseball.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.