"That comment had nothing with Tito," Kipnis said before Monday's game against the Royals. "Tito is our manager -- he's not a babysitter. When I talk about holding [people] accountable, that's strictly a players-holding-other-players accountable [thing]. We've got a bunch of young adults who are supposed to be treated like men. Tito treats us like men, so he thinks that we'd be able to do the stuff on our own, and maybe he was giving us too much credit at the time, and that's maybe the only thing you could blame him for -- that he gave us too much credit.
"That [comment] had nothing to do with him. It should never get to the point where the manager needs to say something. That's where it comes up to us, and that's why it's actually a reflection on me. It's a reflection on me, [Michael] Brantley, [Corey] Kluber, Yan [Gomes] -- some of the guys that are leading this team. Hey, you've got other people to worry about than just yourself. So you've got other guys looking up to you or other guys that need your help.
"I think that's what I meant by it. It was strictly other guys calling out other guys. It had nothing to do with [the manager]. Even I read somewhere, 'You think Tito's lost the clubhouse?' And that's just not the case at all. He was just maybe giving us too much credit."
Following Sunday's 2-1 loss, the Indians held a lengthy team meeting and Kipnis later told reporters: "We've got people worrying about their own things, nobody's held accountable. It's just not the way we're going to do business here."
Francona did not make too much of Kipnis' comments either way.
"If we were playing the way we are capable, I think that conversation goes away," Francona said. "I think right now, we're getting tested more than we want, and so everything is little more glaring. I think that it's pretty typical when a team loses four straight and gets outscored like we did [against Chicago] that you have these types of things."
Asked if he is worried that hitting coaches -- Ty Van Burkleo and assistant Matt Quatraro -- could take the fall for the team's offensive issues this season, Kipnis said he has thought about that possibility.
"I do [worry about that]," Kipnis said. "I hate seeing a hitting coach end up being the scapegoat for stuff, even around the league. They're not the ones who lace on the cleats. They're not the ones in the batter's box hitting. If I get out, Ty didn't get out, I got out. If I swung at a stupid pitch, it was my fault, not his fault. He's there to help and adjust, and that's all he can do.
"You can't do much more than that. It is what it is. That's a business decision. I have no impact on it, really. I just think it's unfortunate when they become scapegoats."