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I have this question about this:

For the second time in the series, Bumgarner outpitched James Shields, although this time Shields put up something of a fight. A pair of early runs, scrounged together with the typical plodding, base-at-a-time attack of the Giants, were all Bumgarner required. Nearing the end of October (and, likely, his time with the Royals), Shields had been cast into the difficult position of tending to mechanical and strategic adjustments between starts. His regular season ERA – 3.77 – had grown to 7.11 in four postseason starts. Opposing hitters had batted .337. The Royals had, often enough, won around him, in spite of him, a reality that contrasted with the notion that held Shields as the club’s go-to starter.

What is "cast into a position"? Is it similar to theater casting of actors?

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Cast has many meanings. In this context, cast essentially means throw. OED provides this definition:

cast: The simple action: To throw

To project (anything) with a force of the nature of a jerk, from the hand, the arms, a vessel, or the like; to throw (which is now the ordinary equivalent); to fling, hurl, pitch, toss.

These phrases would have nearly the same meaning:

Shields had been thrown into the difficult position...

Shields had been thrust into the difficult position...

Shields had been forced into the difficult position...

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