Jeff Suppan is scheduled to start the opener of a nine-game homestand on Tuesday, and Braden Looper will follow on Wednesday. After that, the Brewers' starting rotation is in limbo, and Macha will meet with general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and the coaching staff early Tuesday afternoon at Miller Park to discuss their options.
Melvin has been looking hard at potential trades, but it appears unlikely that he will be able to acquire a starter as early as this week.
"Since there aren't any percolating conversations about outside options, [a trade] is very remote at this time," Ash said. "But sometimes trades come together very quickly, so it's hard to give a definitive answer. I would say it's not likely."
If that is indeed the case, the Brewers will have to rely on internal options. Macha reiterated on Sunday that he would rather leave Seth McClung in the bullpen, where he has been a key to that unit's success this season. Entering the season, McClung was told he was the "sixth starter," the first line of defense should the team need an extra arm.
"Seth, for me, has given us so much out of that bullpen," Macha said. "I don't want to make it sound like because he's done so good in the bullpen, we're going to punish him and not [let him] be a starter."
If McClung stays put, the Brewers would have to dip down to the Minors, probably Triple-A Nashville. Right-hander Mike Burns, who worked four innings in his only appearance during a brief stint with the Brewers this month, could take Bush's place on Thursday on regular rest. He allowed three runs, only one of them earned, in 7 1/3 innings for Nashville on Saturday night, but he was denied the win by a blown save. Burns, who is already on the 40-man roster, has nine quality starts in the Minors this year and a 2.55 ERA.
Is Burns the leading candidate to pitch on Thursday?
"I'm not going to say that, no," Macha said.
Other possibilities include Parra, who pitched six innings in his Triple-A season debut on Wednesday and is scheduled to pitch again on Tuesday. Right-hander Tim Dillard or left-hander Lindsay Gulin might also be discussed.
"I don't know the answer yet, and that's why we want to get together Tuesday and think it through," Ash said. "I don't know if [Macha and the coaches] want a 13th pitcher, a starter, a reliever, a middle-innings guy. From time to time, it's good to sit down and strategize."
Macha preached patience as the Brewers lay out their plans.
"Doug traveled back [to Milwaukee] today, and I'm sure he's talking to everybody," Macha said. "A lot of teams still feel they are in the race, so there's not a lot of [trade] options. There's 'cool' options, not 'hot' options, from another organization.
"But who knows? Let's let Doug do his thing, and he'll come down and put everything on the table and we'll talk about it. He may have 10 options from Triple-A or Double-A or wherever, and we'll discuss them."